American investor and owner of Dark Night cave-tubing, Bradley Paumen, 41, has been arrested and charged for allegedly plotting to murder four people, including an Iranian-American, who he’s had a legal land dispute with in the past.
Paumen was arrested along with another person, who has since been let go, on January 6th by officers of the Special Branch Unit (SPU). 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, has been flying under the radar since then and answers have been hard to come by as authorities have remained tight-lipped about the circumstances regarding the case.
The Reporter has been following the story from last week and it is only since several inquiries have been made with officials at various levels, that details have started to emerge.
According to a police report, investigations into Paumen began on December 11th after reports surfaced that he had solicited a hit on Michael 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.
Modiri owns a plot of land in Frank’s Eddy, which he bought in 2007 and 2008, that provides 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 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.
Modiri is also expected to return to the country sometime soon.
In another twist to the story, the Gang Supression Unit (GSU) vaguely reported that on Monday, a .380 pistol with six live rounds, registered in Paumen’s name, was found on George Street gang turf. The report, however, noticeably omitted the specific location where the gun was found. 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 his 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. Modiri was apparently able to beat the case and avoid jail time.
In the meantime, Paumen remains at the prison until his next scheduled appearance in court on March 8th.