Authorities have broken up two alleged human trafficking rings, one in the Georgeville and the other in the Burrell Boom. We’ll tell you first about the one in Georgeville – sometime around 9:30 on Monday night, Police and immigration officers set chase on a white van suspected to be carrying illegal immigrants. The van and its occupants managed to get away from police however, and when police caught back up with them, only the driver of the van was found inside. The passengers had escaped. The driver of the vehicle has been detained. The second bust happened around 4 o’clock yesterday morning. A white van, similar to the one in Monday night’s bust was travelling on the Burrel Boom road. We were informed that the occupants of the vehicle – Salvadorians, and Hondurans entered Belize through the western border with Guatemala, by river. They were then picked up by the vehicle bearing an Orange Walk license plate. Police got word of the activities and started to pursue the vehicle. Five of the occupants – four males and one female were detained, while about eight other persons escaped. Those detained were charged with illegal entry; they have been identified as 27 year-old Salvadoran Maria Deisy Leon Tobias, 34-year-old Jose Antonio Arevalo, 22-year-old Uvaldo Antonio Alvarado Murrillo, 25-year-old Jose Obdulio Escobar and a17 year-old. They plead guilty to the charge and were fined $1,000 and $5.00 cost of court each, or go to jail. None of the five were able to pay the fine and were remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Officials say that several of them admitted that they were heading to the United States. Meanwhile, the five occupants who escaped were later found at an abandoned house in the Los Lagos area. They are 18 year old Yessenia Guadalupe Santamaria Gonzalez, 19 year old Mirian Santamaria Guevara, 24 year old Maribel Antonia Guevara and two 17 year old females. The three adult women were arraigned in Magistrate’s court this morning where they plead guilty to illegal entry. While the three women were very emotional in court, it was Maribel who pleaded with the Magistrate to just send her home. The offense however, carries a $1,000 fine that must be paid immediately, or six months in prison. Maribel then asked the court if she can call her relatives to send her money to pay the fine. Arrangements have been made through the Immigration Department for the women to contact their relatives in their home countries. And as for the two teens found with the women, they were handed over to the Human Services Department. Removal orders have been filed to have all the individuals caught deported to their respective countries.
And, there are more persons who were charged with illegal entry. On Monday, immigration officials detained 19 year old Honduran national, Santos Alexander Guevara Amaya at the Belize City bus terminal, as he made his way out of a bus travelling from Benque Viejo Del Carmen. The following morning, 22 year old, a Salvadoran national Rigoberto Mendoza Palma was caught at a residence on Antelope Street in Belize City. Both men pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal entry. They were unable to pay a $1,000 fine set and were remanded to prison. Removal orders have also been filed for the two men to be deported.