Crime

Two more charged in connection with Paumen murder plot

Two more men have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison in relation to the police investigation of Bradley Paumen and an alleged plot to murder four people.

Ian Skeen, Paumen’s accountant at Dark Night, and Lisburn Anderson, Paumen’s former employee and mechanic, were arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrates Court on Monday morning in front of Magistrate Ladona John on two counts of ‘abetment to commit murder’ each, for allegedly making a $3,000 payment as partial payment for the murder of Michael Modiri, Paumen’s rival who he’s had a bitter legal battle with over land, and Domingo Cal, also a former employee of Paumen.

Skeen was arrested on Saturday afternoon and Anderson was picked up on Sunday morning. No plea was taken and bail was denied until Friday when attorneys will make an application for bail in the Supreme Court.

Paumen was granted bail last week in the Supreme Court despite strong objection from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on grounds that he was a flight risk considering his assets in Belize and the United States (US).

Paumen was arrested on January 6th by officers of the Special Branch. On the 8th he was taken to San Ignacio where he was arraigned on four counts of ‘abetment to murder’ and pled ‘not guilty’ but was remanded to the Belize Central Prison.

His arrest, however, had flown under the radar since then until last week when police sent out a report indicating that investigations into Paumen began on December 11th after reports surfaced that he had solicited a hit on Modiri, the Iranian-American he’s had a tumultuous relationship with. Sources close to the investigation indicate that a local attorney was also targeted in the plot as well as Modiri’s body guard.

Modiri owns a plot of land in Frank’s Eddy, which he bought in 2007 and 2008, that provide access to cave systems on Paumen’s Dark Night property. In 2013, while Modiri was out of the country, Paumen managed to get the Ministry of Natural Resources to acquire a portion of Modiri’s land, enabling Paumen to build a road right through his property.

Surprised and unsatisfied, Modiri took the matter to court and in a Supreme Court judgment last year, Justice Sonya Young declared that the Ministry of Natural Resource’s decision to acquire Modiri’s land was unlawful then reversed that decision and awarded him $15,000 in costs.

In another twist to the story, the Gang Supression Unit (GSU) vaguely reported Monday the 11th, a .380 pistol with six live rounds registered in Paumen’s name was found on George street gang turf. It is also noteworthy that this discovery was made three days after Paumen had already been remanded to prison.

Modiri, however, has also been arrested on gun charges before. In May 2015, Modiri was arrested and charged along with three women after police searched a vehicle at a checkpoint in St. Margaret’s village on the Hummingbird highway and found a prohibited .22 Mossberg 715T semi-automatic tactical assault rifle with a sound suppressor and 190 live rounds. According to police sources, however, Modiri was able to avoid jail time because he was able to prove the gun was not his and police believe that Paumen may have arranged to have the gun planted in the vehicle he was driving.

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