Kendale Flowers, 19, of Faber’s Road, an associate of the Southside Gangsters, Alex Mazariego, 22, of Salvapan and Alley Ismael Garcia, 23 of Belmopan were shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers at Bacalar Chico on Northern Ambergris Caye last Saturday morning July 7.
A fourth member of the gang is believed to have escaped the joint Belize Coast Guard, Belize Defence Force and Police operation which destroyed a gangland enclave, apparently used to harvest cocaine packages washed up on the shore.
The rocky area, where the Barrier Reef touches the shoreline, is known in some circles as the funnel. Any cocaine which is not collected from night air-drops of cocaine shipments over the water will eventually end up here.
Security forces seized a M-16 rifle, two M-4 carbines, one 9 mm Ruger pistol, three bulletproof vests (non military issue) two binoculars, five rifle magazine, a large amount of 5.26 mm ammunition and a small quantity of marijuana.
The M-4 carbines have been identified as two stolen from the Belize Defence Force armoury in Ladyville two years ago.
Coast Guard Captain, John Borland explained at a media briefing on Monday that the joint force was dispatched to clear out the area, as they had received complaints of and armed group of brigands who had encamped on this isolated area, establishing a bridgehead.
The BDF and the Coast Guard began operation at 6:00 in the morning with instructions to clear the area of hostile forces. They began at the northern tip of the island, working their way south looking for tell-tale clues.
They found empty shell casings and discarded ammunition boxes and encountered trees that had been used for target practice.
Approximately four miles into the patrol, the man on point spotted someone in the vegetation some 300 meters ahead.
“Shortly after they began advancing tactically, they came under fire,” Capt. Borland recounted.
The patrol commander ordered his men to take cover and return fire. They could distinguish four hostiles.
The patrol suffered no casualties; as they laid down a withering fire when they closed in on the gunmen, who died in a hail of bullets as the joint patrol captured their position.
The patrol counted three dead bodies, but the fourth man had escaped.
During mop-up operations the patrol found a number of gunmen’s personal items.
The security forces will remain in the area to ensure it remains safe and clean.