Another drug plane landed in the north

Another unauthorised plane landed in the north and after it was emptied of its contents, was burned and abandoned. The plane landed on a public road that is in the middle of a cane field in the Santa Cruz area in the Corozal district. Police say the road connects two villages and by the time officers arrived on the scene, the plane was engulfed in flames. On the road were the lighting apparatus used to make the illegal landing strip visible to the pilot of the aircraft but no cargo, no plane crew were anywhere in sight. Officer Commanding the Corozal Formation, Sinquest Martinez, explained.

Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation:

We conducted searches within the area last night and this morning and we haven’t found anything in respect to the plane except the remains of the plane that have been found.
Reporter: What type of aircraft was it sir?
Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation: It’s a 20engine beach craft plane. I don’t want to make an assumption at this time but I have my officers doing some investigating with the assistance of the BDF, and that is around the district doing some other work along with us as a team up that we’re presently doing.
Reporter: Now sir, that area is known traditionally for the landing of illicit aircraft. What kind of interventions are the police doing to ensure that they have a grip on what’s happening in that area.
Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation: What we normally do, we do patrols; we do village patrols. That’s one of the areas that we go often but unfortunately we were a little bit late getting there last night but we did what was available for us.

Police were called to the area sometime around 8 o’clock last night but reports are that residents in the area have heard several planes over the past few weeks, landing and taking off.  Police say they can’t speak to those other reports that we have heard but are investigating the one they know about.

Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation:

We don’t want to divulge much information in respect to that but I can speak on what transpired last night.
Reporter: But are there reports that there were previous landings taking place in Corozal, up to last week.
Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation: Not… We didn’t have any landing last week. As a matter of fact it’s not even us who control the radar. It’s personnel at the Civil Aviation that control the radars not us. We just work on information that we receive.
Reporter: Well we’re getting information that there was a landing in Patchakan and possibly one in Sartenejia. How does the police receive that, is there any truth to this?
Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation: As far as my office is concerned, we haven’t.

Just yesterday, Orange Walk Police were called out to an area between Indian Church and Hill Bank where another aircraft was illegally landed and burned. It is suspected that the planes were carrying drugs as well.  Police and BDF are teaming up to investigate these plane landings but Spt Sinquest would not say if they are corresponding with Mexican counterparts.  Sinquest says residents can help police if they call when they hear planes flying in some of these remote areas.

Sinquest Martinez, OC Corozal Formation:

They could help by calling 911, or call the nearest police station or call an officer, call myself or the deputy if you hear any planes especially in the late evenings flying around your area. This is a concern because it could have a balloon effect on us. It is drugs that we’re dealing with and drugs brings its own violence and cash.

We must mention that police have not been able to solve any of the cases with illegal planes landing in Belize in recent years as far as we can remember.  Belize is one week away from municipal elections and it is also interesting to note that just prior to the last elections held in Belize, in November 2015, two suspected drug planes had also landed in Belize just weeks apart. In those two 2015 pre-election  instances, by the time the aircrafts were discovered by Belizean authorities, whatever cargo they were carrying were long gone as well. Those cases also remain unsolved.


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