Security Meeting Held in Belize Amid Cartel Threats: Police Dispel Social Media Panic

Security Meeting Held in Belize Amid Cartel Threats: Police Dispel Social Media Panic

Over on the Belize side, the troubling situation in Chetumal led to a high-level security meeting between and among Belize’s security forces. This morning, members of the Belize Defence Force, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Border Security, and high-ranking police officers met to discuss how local authorities will reinforce security at the Santa Elena border in the north. The meeting lasted for several hours where the security services discussed strategy and approach while assessing the threat levels and concerns.  Interestingly, while the meeting was in session, a social media post surfaced indicating that members of a cartel group would be targeting the areas near the Rio Hondo River and the Corozal Free Zone which they have declared as their territory.  It seems, however, that they were empty threats as the Police Commissioner, Chester Williams reported that the post was unfounded and was a false narrative.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “There is no cause for concern nor alarm as there is no information at this time to indicate that any of the players from Chetumal have or is coming into the country. But just as a means of precaution to give the Belizean people that sense of safety and security, we met to discuss how we’re going to deploy our resources in the Northern area and to see how we can reorganize our current Northern operations to make sure that we can cover as much long as we can. Our team, police and BDF, remain extremely vigilant along the irregular border crossing as well as the regular border crossing. So there is where we are at this time. We did had an operation in the Free Zone yesterday where we had seen two vehicles that we were told had been left abandoned and we went to retrieve those vehicles but when we got there, the owners came out and the vehicles were checked there, they were legitimate vehicles and the owners were also checked out as well and so those vehicles were released to their respective owners. The Free Zone is very safe. The security of the Free Zone remains in place and the police goes there now and then. We also have a team of police officers who work the Free Zone area and so far all remains in order at the Free Zone. Our team remains in place, extremely vigilant and alert and contrary to what I heard a voice clip which was done by Santiago Castillo where he said that the Belizean security forces are no match to the cartels. That’s not true. We are prepared in the event that anything should happen. This is our country, our people, and we will defend our country and our people as best as we can. There is no time to be in fear of nothing or nobody.”

It was just recently that both the Police and the BDF had received a million dollars to combat the influence of cartels in northern Belize.  Today, however, more funding is needed to reportedly keep organized criminals from infiltrating Belize’s borders. Commissioner Williams explained that while there are Belizeans are working with the cartel, the groups are not directly engaged in criminal activities within our borders. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “The situation on the ground has changed in light of what is taking place in Chetumal  and so we certainly will be asking for additional funding and again, our minister, both Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Defence as well as the Prime Minister are fully aware of what is taking place. And the Prime Minister in particular, who is the Minister of Finance, has been extremely cooperative in making sure that the security forces get the resources they need to be able to secure our northern border. We know that we do have operatives in Belize who are on the side of the cartels. We know that. And I’m not going to go into details in terms of our operational strategies, but certainly as a part there of, is to make sure that we target those persons who we believe are operating in Belize for the cartels and I’ll leave it at that.”

Williams added that the police do possess the necessary manpower and artillery needed to combat the Mexican narcos.

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