By Alexis R. Milan
San Pedro police have made 19 arrests, seized over nine pounds of marijuana, confiscated 25 rounds of assorted ammunition, recovered an illegal gun and have charged one person for attempted murder during last week, in a drive to crack down on crime on the island.
According to Superintendent of Police, Luis Castellanos, officer commanding the San Pedro police formation, the arrests were made as a direct result of the department stepping up its efforts to crack down on crime after a spike of violence on the island escalated into a string of shootings, resulting in numerous murders.
Castellanos said the operation was done in collaboration with the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) which was brought in to help tackle the surge of violence, mostly seen in Belize City, where the unit primarily operates. According to Castellanos, police believe the spike in violence on the island is due to factions struggling for control over narcotics.
In one raid, 10 people, including three women and seven men, all residents of the same address, were arrested and charged jointly for keeping an unlicensed .22 pistol and 25 rounds of ammunition. Those arrested have been identified as Guadalupe Gonzalez, John Arana, Juan Gomez, Marciana Campos, Michael Edwards, Pedro Campos, Peter Hernandez, Teresita Cordova, Victor Vasquez and Laura Trapp.
Two men, Andrew Edwards and Cardenal Rosalez Jr, were arrested and charged for possession of two nine millimeter rounds and 0.6 grams of marijuana.
Akeem Jones and Andrea Muschamp were charged for possession of 183.3 grams of marijuana. In another search, 19-year-old Dennis Salazar was charged for possession of 115.7 grams of marijuana and later, his brother, Alex Salazar was charged for possession of 993.3 grams of marijuana.
In another raid, 23-year-old Marlon Chanek and a minor were arrested for and charged for possession of 2,800.5 grams of marijuana.
A 21 year-old San Pedro resident, Deshawn Goff, was also arrested and charged with attempted murder for the February 11th shooting in the San Pedrito area, where 13-year-old Meredith Escalante was shot in the chest.