Police investigations continue into stolen Maya Island Air plane
Police have confirmed that there was no cargo onboard the stolen Maya Island Air plane that crashed in Placencia. Sixteen days ago, a Venezuelan and an Argentinean reportedly stole the aircraft from the Placencia Municipal Airport and died minutes after crash landing. Police believe the men targeted the aircraft for use in the drug trade and were assisted by locals. The department has since launched an intensive investigation with the assistance of other security forces and the USA’s Drug Enforcement Administration. Police say the robbers arrived by boat and land and tied up a security guard before they made off with the leased plane. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams explained yesterday that the police have made progress but are yet to identify the suspects.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “No there was no cargo on the plane and our investigation into that matter continues. We are in constant dialogue with our counterparts in Venezuela, Argentina as well as the DEA attache here in Belize to see what we can gather on those individuals .There are certain things that we have gathered yes but I’m not going to divulge to the media at this time as the investigation is still ongoing. We do believe that there were Belizeans involved in that operation. There is no way the foreigners could have come to Belize and know exactly where to go and what to do and so Belizeans had to be involved. We have not been able to identify the person or persons who were in that vehicle, neither have we been able to identify the vehicle. We believe that the boat may have gone to Honduras as we also believe that it came from Honduras and went to that location. So like I said we’re still looking at the investigation and see what further information we can gather to take the investigation further.”
Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa explained that the incident has brought into perspective the need for greater security at the country’s various local airports.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “To my knowledge I have not been given the final report on that investigation as yet but initial reports there wasn’t anything to suggest that there was cargo of that nature on the plane but again I would cede to the final report before I can give a conclusive answer to that question. The police department as you know has been working along with them since this incident. It is sort of an unprecedented move by any means noone would ever have imagined something like that could have possibly happen and so we absolutely have to be on high alert at all our aerodromes.”
The masterminds behind the brazen robbery are believed to be people involved in the regional drug trade.