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Trio of Guatemalans Detained for Several Offences

Three Guatemalans have been captured in the southern part of the Chiquibul Forest through Joint Forces Unit located at the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post. On Saturday April 16, the three men were found in jungle camps near one of the Ceibo Chico creeks. At the camp Joint Forces personnel found several plastic bags containing what appears to be marijuana amounting to over 390 grams and three empty vials. The three individuals were caught some 8.5 kilometers away from the western border in different locations though several other individuals managed to escape. The three individuals, all of Guatemalan origin were identified as 36 year old Juan Che Zuc of El Naranjon, 33 year old Pablo Martinez of Las Brisas de Chiquibul and 21 year old Jeconias Che Xol of El Naranjon. These three individuals were in the area seeking gold. The three admitted knowing that they were inside Belizean territory. Juan commented that this was the second time he was in the area and that all the gold found in the Chiquibul is sold in the village of Monte Los Olivos.  The three Guatemalan nationals were handed over to the San Ignacio Police pending charges of drug trafficking; camping without a permit inside a protected area and illegal entry into Belize. The village of Monte Los Olivos has been known to receive substantial support from Organization of American States is seen as a model community where through alternative livelihood assistance the incursions would be reduced. However, Friends for Conservation and Development does not see Monte Los Olivos as a model community since the main source of gold panners are coming from that village and they are promoting the demand.