Police continue to try to crack down on the spiralling violence in the Ladyville area of Eastern Division (Rural). In the wake of the shoot-out at the residence of Cynthia Lozano early last week Saturday on Marage Road, police have arrested the two accused of the incident, Darwin Prado and Egbert Baldwin. But the trail leads back further, to mechanic Alrick Smith, who was a shooting victim a few weeks ago and may have decided to strike back. For more we turn to ACP Edward Broaster, the officer in charge of Eastern Division (Rural):
ACP Edward Broaster, O.C Eastern Division (Rural): Mr Alrick Smith has been also charged for abetting the commission of murder upon Miss Cynthia Lozano, Jerome Lozano, Casey Lozano, Athlee Lozano and eight others who we will not name at this time. This stem out of an incident that occurred the wee hours of Saturday morning where Mr. Alrick Smith made specific threats to the Lozano Family. As a result of our continuing investigation we also recovered a 9 millimeter pistol along with 11 rounds of ammunition which we believed was used in the shooting that night. It is being processed to determine whether or not that gun was used to fire fatal shot that took the life of Mr. Lionel Rhamdas.
Police also made a significant bust last night:
ACP Edward Broaster, O.C Eastern Division (Rural): This last evening due to efforts of our police officers in the Milpa-Marage road area, we came upon a black pickup truck, C-27748 which was driven at the time by Glen Reneau, 34 years of a Neal’s Pen Road address. A juvenile, 16 years of the same address, One Germain Patnet, 31 years of Manta Ray Boulevard, Curl Estrada, 28 years of Silk Grass Village and Dion Rhamdas of Manta Ray Boulevard in the area of Bobo Hill near the Milpa-Mirage road area. Upon seeing the police, the driver of the pickup, increased speed. However, the police managed to intercept them and we have been conducting searches in the area this morning to see if any firearms or what have you was thrown out. Yesterday morning, we had reports that there were 4 other male persons in that area with firearms. We had combed the area and we did not find anyone in the area, but we had made sure that we placed resources in that area to see what is happening and these are the individuals that we came upon around 11:30 last night.
Broaster was careful not to directly link the bust last night with the Milpa/Marage violence and says police are leaving nothing to chance in their fight to keep the village safe. Smith appeared in court today but there was a delay in arraignment after Magistrate Deborah Rogers found certain elements of the charge sheet incomplete. No changes were made and so the arraignment went ahead. Smith is accused of, on May 14, 2016, in Ladyville, soliciting to cause the death of Cynthia Lozano and her entire family of 11, who police have asked that we not name to protect their privacy. But the Matron Roberts Street, Belize City resident, who also has a Ladyville address, has retained Dickie Bradley as his attorney, and Bradley questioned how it is that because his client was reportedly seen in the crowd gathered round after the shooting, watching one of the victims, it becomes attempting to facilitate someone with tools to kill a target – and no one save Lionel Rhamdas died in that incident. Due to the nature of the offense, Smith was denied bail and remanded into prison until June 20, 2016. Nonetheless, in the last two months deadly criminal activity has transformed Ladyville into somewhat of a gun-town with three deaths by gun reported in the last few weeks, starting with Rene Chavarria followed by teenager Merkel Pitts and after him Lionel Rhamdas. We questioned ACP Edward Broaster today about what the police are doing to mitigate the growing violent trend?
ACP Edward Broaster, O.C Eastern Division (Rural): I cannot speak to specific operations that we have in the area, but what I can say is that we are covering the area as well as other areas that needs to be maintained. Like I said prior, there is not just three, but four different groups that we have to cover and look at to ensure that we stave off the problematic retaliation of these shootings. Our interdiction effort and prevention effort will be maintained at high alert and we will ensure that we try and provide the necessary security and safety for the residents of Ladyville area