Police stumble on human trafficking ring!

An Orange Walk man who is suspected of being involved in a human trafficking ring has been detained by Ladyville Police along with his van bearing Orange Walk license plates, on Wednesday, police reported.

A number of Central American nationals  were  rounded up by police and immigration officers. They were taken to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, on Tuesday and Wednesday, where they were arraigned on illegal entry charges.

Three Central American women who were apprehended by police and immigration officers pleaded guilty to illegal entry, when they were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Wednesday.

There were two girls along with the three adults, and they were handed over to the Department of Social Service, as victims of suspected human trafficking. The five were found hiding in an abandoned house in Los Largos.

Frazer ordered the three adults to play a fine of $1,000 forthwith or spend six months in prison. Immigration officials have also secured removal order from the court for their expulsion.

But the women could not pay the fines immediately. So, they asked the court to allow them to contact their families back home.

The women, Maribel Guevara, 24, Yessenia Gonzalez, 18, and Miriam Guevara, 19, remain in custody.

On Tuesday, seven other Central American immigrants also appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, before Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. They all pleaded guilty to illegally entering Belize.

Magistrate Lucas, Jr., fined them $1000 each and ordered them to pay forthwith. Since they were unable to pay the fine, they will each have to spend six months behind bars, after which they will be deported back to their countries.

Included in the seven are Maria Tobias, 27, Jose Arrevalo, 33, Ubaldo Murillo, 22, Jose Escobar, 25, Omar Guevera, 17, all Salvadoran nationals and Honduran national Rigoberto Mendoza Palma, 33.

Tobias, Murillo Guerra and  Auvalo were apprehended around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, when police intercepted a white van at the mile 13 police check point on the Phillip Goldson Highway.

Police reported that around 3:35 a.m., they were conducting mobile patrols along the Phillip Goldson Highway, and when they reached the junction of the Boom/ Hattieville Road, they spotted a loaded van coming from the direction of Burrell Boom.

Apparently when the driver of the van saw the police, he swerved and ran his van into a nearby yard. The driver then fled the scene, leaving his passengers to scramble out of the van, as some of them managed to escape in the nearby bush.

Officials suspect the van was involved in a human smuggling ring. According to police, there were 15 illegal immigrants inside the van, which was being driven by a Belizean.

The driver of the van managed to escape, but was later captured by police.  Five of his captured passengers told immigration officers that they entered Belize illegally by crossing the Mopan River, and that they were heading for the United States through Mexico.

Palma was found at a house on Antelope Street around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. He was discovered when police went to the residence to investigate a report made by a concerned citizen.

Immigration officers picked up Amaya at the Belize City Novelos Bus Terminal on Monday, February 18, as he alighted from  a bus that came in from Benque Veijo Del Carmen. He admitted to Immigration Officers that he had entered Belize illegally and was heading for the United States.

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