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Tourists Robbed at Gunpoint at El Pilar

The El Pilar Archeological Reserve consists of 5,000 acres and on 120 acres, lies 25 plazas and hundreds of buildings. El Pilar translates into Water Basin, is a unique site that that sits near the Belize-Guatemala border. It’s located 7.5 miles north of San Ignacio.  Over the years, bandits from Guatemala have successfully evaded capture. In May, 2002 ten tourists were robbed while on tour in the area. In December, 2002 a Guatemalan National Alex Santos was arrested and charged with rape and robbery for the September 1st, 2002 assault of tourists on the road to El Pilar. There was another incident on Sunday afternoon but no one was injured. Four tourists were robbed at the El Pilar Maya Archaeological site. The visitors came from the USA and Canada, one of the biggest markets for overnight tourism in Belize.  ACP Joseph Myvette, the Head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch said that there is usually a patrol by security forces in the area.

ACP Joseph Myvette: “On yesterday’s date sometime around 12:30 PM San Ignacio Police received a call and proceeded to the El Pilar Mayan Archaeological site which is located some 7 miles SouthWest of Bullet Tree Village where upon arrival they met one Teddy Waite 39 years Tour Guide who at the time was accompanied by four tourists:  two Americans and two Canadians. He reported to the Police that sometime during the course of him doing his story he then visited a shed which is on the compound of the archaeological site where two hispanic males were seen sitting. As a result they were approached by these two hispanic males: one of who was armed with what appears to be a shotgun while the other was armed with a handgun. Those persons demanded money and as a result the tourist were robbed of monies and other personal belongings thereafter the two hispanic male persons then made good their escape in a trail that leads towards the Belize Guatemala border. There has always been security in that area, a joint Police BDF composite patrol has always been in that vicinity on patrol.

Reporter: “Sir were these patrols active at that precise moment when that incident happened?”

ACP Joseph Myvette: “I do not believe they were but I know that from time to time those partrols are based in that area.”

Myvette said the bandits left in a direction leading towards Guatemala.