By Marion Ali
Jose Rigoberto Beltran, 42, who relocated to Ambergris Caye several years ago in the Escalante area of San Pedro Town and had become a taxi driver, was found dead around 10 a.m. on Tuesday inside his van.
Police say a man who had gone to the area to smoke a stick of weed made the discovery. Beltran was slumped over his steering wheel, his hands and feet were bound with duct tape, his face was covered with a cloth, and he had been shot in the back of the head. Yet another report states that Coast Guard personnel on patrol stumbled upon the dead taxi driver after they had observed a man not far from the scene bleeding from open wounds. The man walked away before Beltran’s body was found moments later, the report says.
According to police, the killers may have pounced on Beltran because they wanted to use his vehicle to commit another crime, a robbery somewhere on the north side of the island. Police have detained three suspects, one of whom they believe is the killer, who resisted arrest and had to be subdued with pepper spray. Cops are also looking for two more suspects. They are reviewing surveillance recording which may show the persons who approached Beltran and pretended to need taxi services. They have also seized a boat with a small engine they say was used in the incident.
Beltran had spoken to his brother Carlton about an hour before his body was discovered and he was his usual self, his brother told the media. He was usually stationed in the area of the municipal airstrip in San Pedro.
Beltran is survived by his wife and two children.