Dec 15 2021
Police and drug planes landings, the year in review
2021 was a banner year for anti-drug aircraft landings in Belize. The past twelve months have also seen a number of thwarted operations in which drug traffickers are either arrested or the illicit cargo they attempt to smuggle across the northern border is confiscated. But it is also a year in which several police officers have also been the subject of investigations for their alleged involvement in the landing of these unauthorized flights. Since January, we’ve seen quite a few planes land on clandestine airstrips, crash into highways and even dive into drink. Tonight we look back at some of those stories as well as the alleged involvement of well-known police officers in drug-related activity.
Isani Cayetano, Report
The Belize Police Department is in the throes of a public relations meltdown, a situation that is not necessarily unique to law enforcement. Since the beginning of the year, several agents have been arrested for their alleged involvement in drug trafficking activities. Deputy Police Commissioner Marco Vidal may not have been part of a circle of rogue cops who have facilitated the landing of drug jets in Belize over the past twelve months; however, he is on administrative leave tonight for mismanagement that may have allowed his men to aid and encourage the movement of cocaine across the country.
Chester Williams, Police Commissioner [File: December 1st, 2021]
“While yes there is a decision to suspend him will be based on administrative failures. The investigation has so far found nothing to suggest that Mr. Vidal was involved or in cahoots with these people. , we saw where, as the operations commander and in charge of the COST team, he could have done certain things to prevent what happened and he did not do so. responsible. “
… As well as a handful of police officers accused of having participated in the transshipment of drugs via Belize. In retrospect, 2021 saw a significant number of officers placed on ban after being indicted for their alleged role in drug trafficking.
Chester williams [File: January 29th, 2021]
“I don’t think we’ve ever shied away from this. In fact, in the last few weeks we have accused a number of police officers of trafficking large amounts of drugs, simply because in those cases it was marijuana. But we know that there are police officers and members of the BDF and the coast guard who are involved in drug trafficking and the public can see that once it is that these agents come forward, we take care of them. We are not here to cover anyone. You want to go take care of the drugs, you get stuck, you will suffer the consequences no matter where you work or who you are. It’s that simple.”
On the contrary, it has apparently proved difficult to lay charges against these wayward lawyers. Many of them, including the narco-eleven, four of whom were officers attached to ACP Vidal’s hand-picked strike team, are represented by a prominent criminal lawyer. Dickie Bradley is Elmer Nah’s lawyer.
Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, lawyer [File: November 23rd, 2021]
“Corporal Elmer Nah was arrested in the area of the Independence Police Station, I think on the highway, coming back from Punta Gorda where there was a baptism or an event, a family event for which there are dozens. of witnesses, he was with his common. his wife-in-law and his common-law partner were with his brother who is the other police officer I was talking about. They were arrested, that is, two days after landing and unloading the plane.
With a winning streak that has seen several officers acquitted of the charges against them, Bradley is no slouch when it comes to defending these accused police officers. Earlier this year, in February, Home Secretary Kareem Musa spoke about the indictment and possibly the conviction of several officers who were arrested near New River, near Lemonal Village.
Kareem Musa, Minister of the Interior [File: February 2nd, 2021]
“Previously, when we had our suspicions and gathered evidence and I speak under the last administration regarding the landings of anti-drug planes, it has never been clearer. You may have found an officer in a particular area and said he was fishing and had his fishing lines to prove it and no drugs were found on him, and this therefore depends on the case by case. But I totally agree with you that in this particular case we should see convictions because in this case the drugs were found in possession. It is very rare that you actually have a bust like this.
Fast forward to November 30, when six men, including a policeman, were arrested in Mountain Pine Ridge for allegedly landing a single-engine plane stuffed to the gills with cocaine. He too is represented by a renowned lawyer.
On the phone: Bryan Neal, lawyer [File: November 30th, 2021]
“I can share with you that nothing incriminating in terms of what my clients were charged with, they were charged under section thirty of the Civil Aviation Act, which they conspired with to others to land a plane. There is no evidence whatsoever in the possession of the police that I saw to suggest that they were involved in the landing of a plane; nevertheless, they were charged.
These criminal cases, involving at least twelve police officers, are still before the court pending a result. It should be noted, however, that a court has also been convened to try these cases outside the judicial system in order to determine whether the police officers involved will remain in the police service. Report for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.