Two Mexican Judicial State police officers, Francisco Villanueva Gamboa, 24, and Walter Cordova Lopez, 46, were remanded to the Belize Central Prison, after they were arrested last week for allegedly robbing fisherman Julius Foreman, 27, and his family during a home invasion in Chunox, Village last Tuesday night.
Corozal Magistrate, Clive Lino denied them bail last Friday morning when they pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated burglary, wounding, and handling stolen goods.
Chunox Village is located 13 miles outside of Corozal Town, and is only accessible through very bad roads and over two manually operated ferries.
A third Mexican policeman, Noel Canul Miguel Martinez, allegedly crossed the Belize/Mexico border with the pair in small white sedan with no registration plates, carrying legal documents. They traveled to Chunox, where Foreman lived with his common-law wife, Darlene Cabral, and their two children.
The men apparently had been stalking Foreman from earlier in the day and found out from the villagers where he lived. They ransacked the family’s small wooden home and then waited for them to come home.
Two of the men met Foreman in the yard, while the third waited inside the house for Cabral and the children. After beating Foreman almost unconscious and assaulting Cabral, one of the men shot at Foreman with a Mexican police-issued gun, but he missed and Foreman ran next door to seek refuge at his mother’s house.
The Mexicans then robbed the family of $1,000 in cash, a 2005 Chevy pick-up truck and two I-phones.
They didn’t get far, because Corozal police, alerted by Foreman’s family, intercepted the pick-up truck and the suspicious white car as they were crossing one of the ferries to leave the village.
No explanation has been offered as to why three Mexican cops would go to such lengths to rob and try to kill a fisherman.
Foreman’s mother said the men demanded “el dinero,” but did not specify what money they were referring to.
Foreman suffered serious abdominal injuries and had to be admitted to the Corozal Town Hospital for two days for medical treatment.
After Foreman was discharged, Corozal Town police took him and Cabral to safety, and combed the village for the third suspect, whom Chunox villagers believe is still in the area, hiding by day and coming out at night.
Villagers have asked the police to boost their patrols in the village in the hope that the third man will be apprehended before there is another attack.
It is believed he may have returned to neighbouring Quintana Roo, so the search for him has been extended to include Chetumal.
The rogue officers also face possible dismissal from the Mexican Judicial State Police. The Mexican newspaper, El Diario de Quintana Roo, reported last week that the State Attorney General has confirmed that Villanueva and Cordoba Lopez had abandoned their duties a few days before the assault on Foreman’s family.
Noel Canul Miguel Martinez had already walked off the job months ago. Villanueva was assigned to the southern zone and took his firearm, while Cordoba López was assigned to the north and carried no weapon.
They return to court on December 6.