Guatemalans arrested for panning gold in Belize’s forests

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Three Guatemalan nationals busted inside the Chiquibul National Park in the Cayo district on Friday morning, were arraigned on firearms charges when they appeared in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court today.  They are 32 year old Marcos Domingo Parrah, 40 year old Estevan Putul, and 32 year old Mario Rolando Xol Caal. The trio was busted during a joint foot patrol by Belizean law enforcement authorities, including the Belize Defence Force and Park Rangers.  The Guatemalan men, according to authorities, were panning for gold in the river when they were found.  A search of the area turned up a sawed-off 16-gauge shotgun without serial number, which was hidden under some dry leaves. Police say that during a search of Parrah, they found 3 sixteen-gauge Elber brand cartridges in his right back pocket. All three men were arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court this morning on charges of kept firearm without a gun license. Marcos Parrah was additionally charged for the crime of kept ammunition without a gun license.  Mario Rolando Xol Caal pled guilty to the charges against him and was given an immediate 5 year jail sentence on each count.  The sentences are to run concurrently, so he will only spend five years behind bars. Putul and Parrah were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance on August 8.

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