Ammunition stolen from BDF military compound

Ammunition for dangerous weapons such as m-4 and m-16 rifles are in the hands of criminals, after 2,680 rounds were stolen from the Belize Defence Force military compound in Lord’s Bank. The discovery was made early Friday morning, according to Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd. By all indications, it was the result of an inside job which included the participation of various levels of security.

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ShepherdLieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd – Chief of Staff in the BDF
“Earlier today about 1:30 in the morning, one of our security patrols discovered the breach of one of our holding cell for some ammunition. We conducted a check and we discovered that a total of 1,680 – 5.56 and 1,000 – 7.62 ammunition was removed from that holding bay.”

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Reporter

“Talk to us about the origin of these ammunition and what you all suspect may have happen at this time, given the limited time you had to investigate it?”

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Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd

“These ammunition, we have them as storage for our American counterparts who are here doing some training. So, the type of shelter or bay that they were in is not that type that we normally keep that type of ammunition in. We don’t have enough information at this point to determine more or less when it occurred. The last time we did a check and one hundred percent accountability was the 7th December. But we have a series of systems and policies in place to prevent these type of incident and in this case each one of those systems and policies were breached systematically. We believe up to about 90% that it is an inside job and as I mentioned before, we believe that there are several people involved either by their act or their omission. In terms of the security procedures we have in place there, we have armed guards that conduct patrols on a routine basis at a minimum of 30 minutes interval.”

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Reporter

“This type of ammunition, what weapons would it be use for?”

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Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd
“For M-16 and M-4 basically, and for the 7.62 – SLR, the self-loading rifle.”

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Reporter

“Do you believe that this ammunition may have now ended up on the streets?”

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Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd

“Most definitely, that’s our major suspicion, yes.”

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Reporter

“Do you believe that it may end up in the hands of underworld figures, who may use it in some form or fashion at a later date?”

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Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd
“Most certainly, and that is one of the incentives that people in the inside have to breach our security systems, so that they could sell these ammunition to the underworld.”

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The ammunition stolen is valued at $20,000 bz dollars. Lt. Col. Sheppard says that several systems and procedures were broken and those officers found to be involved will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

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Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd

As I mentioned before we have systems and procedures in place and those procedures were breached, so we’ll go back and do a check of our systems and each person that through their negligence facilitated this breach will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”

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Reporter

“What level or rank do you believe that it has gone as high as to allow for this access and theft of these ammunition?”

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Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd
“Up to the rank of captain, we have checks of these ammunition. Our survival as an organization itself depends on the trust and confidence that we get from the Belizean people we serve and when things like this happen, it definitely erodes the trust and confidence and so that is one thing that we definitely have to build back and work back to gain the trust and confidence of the Belizean people that this type of incident will not occur again.”

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Even though there are systems, procedures, and protocols to avoid this type of embarrassment, and an intense investigation is now ongoing,  it is not the first time something like this has happened.  In October of 2011, some 40 guns went  missing from the BDF Price Barracks. Before that, in 2008, 2 BDF soldiers were charged for the theft of over one thousand ammunition rounds which were found  inside the vehicle they were driving but they ended up walking away from those charges. And who could forget the  May 2004 incident when twenty-four grenades were stolen from BATSUB. Some of those grenades have turned up from time to time in Belize City to the horror of its residents.
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