By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
The discovery of an abandoned helicopter around 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday by the Anti Drug Unit near the Belize-Mexico border has heightened the probability that wanted Mexican fugitive may be in Belize.
The chopper was found in very good working condition, but its features and proximity to the border are what led authorities to believe that the man called “El Chapo” could be in Belize.
The grey BELL-407 chopper, said to be worth around $4 million, has heavily tinted windows and has registration numbers N607AZ – not traceable to any country thus far. It was on a feeder road near Blue Creek Village, Orange Walk – a community located on the country’s northwestern side of the border – where contraband activity is rife.
Inside the aircraft police discovered a number of blue plastic receptacles containing fuel. It was flown to the Belize Defense Force’s Price Barracks base and will join the fleet if two helicopters which Belize will receive from Taiwan, ironically to conduct border patrols.
BDF Commandant, Brigadier General David Jones said the chopper is the same type that BDF pilots are trained to fly. He shared a theory why the chopper can’t be traced.
“We’ve tried to find information in regards on the tail number that’s on it. We’ve check with our partners in Mexico. We’ve also check with our partners all the way in Colombia and they cannot ascertain who really owns that helicopter. What they informed us on it is that the tail numbers on it may be misleading as to who owns it.”
“It had a fuel pump apart from the tank that holds the fuel. There was a pump inside the helicopter itself that when the main tank runs out, there were extra fuel inside the main cabin to pump fuel back into the tank. Based on that we suspect … it was used for illegal activities.”
Since the chopper showed no signs that it contained drugs, the suspicion is that it was used to transport people to the location where it was found.
Mexican fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – the most wanted man in Mexico and the U.S – remains at large. A bounty has been offered for his recapture.