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No charges for men caught with BDF apparel and other equipment

Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie was asked to comment on the recent police operation in Orange Walk Town where a hundred old Belize Defence Force uniforms, old generators and equipment were found. A Mexican by the name of Sarco Torres had been detained along with two Belizeans but they were later released. As we have reported, the old equipment and uniforms were handed over to the Ministry of Finance for disposal. We have also received information that Torres had been working with a high ranking officer of the BDF. This evening, Whylie explained why no charges were levied against Torres.

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“I know a number of items were indeed found by the Police. The matter is being investigated. Obviously the investigation has not concluded and there’s nothing stopping us from at the end of that investigation to charge persons if indeed they have committed some crime or some offence. In terms of what those individuals were doing with those items, that process of the investigation is still ongoing. In the past I can recall that we use to charge people for being in possession of uniforms but I was told that there was some challenge to a case many years ago and the practice had ceased in charging for those things. What we are trying to establish is how those items got there, what those persons were doing with it and who took it there etcetera. So as I said, it is an active investigation and I wouldn’t want to go into it too much.”

“Sir, are you looking at any breaches in the BDF system in which these items which were marked for destruction ended up being sent to a location; it appears they had other intentions other than to destroy as was the intention. The Financial Secretary had said that this was a breach and we have since learnt that text messages have been making the rounds in the press showing communication between the Mexican national and a senior BDF officer and someone from the Ministry of Finance being referenced to in those text messages. Isn’t that a concern? Isn’t that supposed to be investigated or are you all investigating whether there is that breach where a transaction was being conducted to set aside these equipment apart from what their intended purpose was, which was destruction.

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“We are looking at whether any criminal act took place. I am certain that the Ministry of Defence is looking into in terms of their internal process and to see if any breaches had occurred. We’re looking at whether any criminal activity took place.”