Eleven men, including several police officers, were arraigned this afternoon at the Belmopan’s Magistrates Court. Those police officers include one sergeant, one corporal and two police constables. The men are facing several charges including conspiracy to land a plane at an unlicensed aerodrome. The charge stems from Thursday night’s landing of a drug-plane on the Southern Highway in Bladen Village, Toledo District. Quick response from the Belize Police Department yielded some 25 bales of cocaine; six high powered rifles and ammunition. By Friday evening 8 persons were detained, and over the weekend operations in the south resulted in the additional detention of four persons including a police officer’s wife. A joint charge sheet has since been drawn up for Armando Martinez; Moises Adan Perez; Juan Esparza Sanchez; Heinrich Redecop; Johan Wall; Fredy Orlando Gongora; Delwin Casimiro; Nelson Middleton; George Ferguson; Elmer Nah and Adonis Campos. Police Commissioner Chester Williams updated the media on the progress of the investigation.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I had appointed an investigation team which comprises of police officers from the anti narcotics unit as well as from Major Crime and we also have elements of the DEA who are a part of that investigation team because we want to make sure that whatever needs to be done is done. A number of persons have been taken into custody and this morning we lay charges against a number of those persons which includes four police officers the most senior rank being Sgt. Ferguson who is George Ferguson. We also have with him Corporal Elmer Nah, PC Nelson Milton and Corporal Cassimiro. Along with the police officers who were charged we have two Mennonites, we also have one Mexican who is Juan Sanchez. We have two Belizeans from Ranchito Village one is Antonio Martinez and the other Adan Perez. Those persons will be arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this afternoon. May I also say that on Saturday night or Saturday evening Independence Police were on a checkpoint and having received certain information they attempted to stop two vehicles that were coming from the direction of where the plane had landed. Upon stoping those vehicles one of the vehicle was occupied by Corporal Nah, his wife, his daughter and another police officer. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of one issued 9mm pistol and over a hundred .223 rounds of ammunition. From what we believe that yes those ammunition are police ammunitions but Corporal Nah is on leave and so he ought not to have been in possession of the department’s ammunition particularly in such quantity and based on that he was detained and our investigation in respect to his involvement in the plane landing was also done and so based on that he is additionally charged with keeping unlicensed ammunition that is in respect to the one hundred and something rounds of .223 ammunition that were found in the vehicle that he was in. Himself and PC Calis were both charged in respect of that.”
Police Commissioner went on to tell the media that that international partners are assisting the local investigators with this investigation.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The investigation is looking at every possibility. We are not ruling out anything and that’s the reason why we have a cross section of investigators and we have not keep away our international partners. Like I said the DEA is a part of the investigation every step of the way because at the end of the day we want to show them as well that as a department we are not covering up nobody and we’re doing what needs to be done. Myself and my minister we spoke every step of the way from the inception of this investigation and between us we and the CEO we do make certain decisions as we move forward. Tomorrow I believe the Minister will have a sit down with the media and give you all an update from the Ministry’s perspective.”
Over the weekend several reports were emerging including ACP Marco Vidal’s traveling to the south to have his nephew’s wife released from detention. Police Commissioner chalked it up to mischief.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We have a number of mischief makers. Right now it’s like silly season in policy. You know when election time is coming and both political parties are vying as to who will form the next government all kind of things is said about every political party right now there’s a vacancy for a Deputy Commissioner and it is silly season where everybody wants to be that deputy so they’re doing what they can to tear down each other which is so sad. But I am not going to be guided by gossips and those persons who are just saying things for their own aggrandizement. So that is not true I can tell you that.“