By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
Orange Walk police this past Wednesday afternoon searched a lot and found a black plastic bag containing 74 grams of marijuana.
In the last six months, Orange Walk police, through its Quick Response Team (QRT) and Special Branch (SP) Personnel have conducted searches at more than a 100 drug dealers and traffickers’ properties, destroyed 11 marijuana plantations, arrested 225 persons for possession of marijuana, and charged 53 persons for cocaine/crack cocaine.
In a interview with the Reporter, Inspector Nicholas Palomo, Deputy Commanding Officer, shared that, “Police can attest that there is a drug problem in the Orange Walk District; the usage and sales of cocaine and marijuana has become part of everyday life.” He spoke specifically on the prevalence of cocaine and marijuana in the orange walk Community.
Palomo stated that in an effort to minimize the rising crimes against person and property, the department has taken a harsh stance against the prevalence of drugs since 2014, through the Anti-Drug Operation, adopting the Commissioner of Police Policing Plan, “to target drug traffickers and users in an effort to minimize hard drugs in Belize”.
The Department is aware and concerned that there are figureheads that monopolize the drug business, controlling the sales, trade and production. They are monitoring these figureheads.
Palomo stated that drug use, retail sale of drugs and drug trafficking create an array of crime and damage in the community because drug users and drug dealers resort to crime against property and persons to either obtain funds to purchase drugs or to maintain dominance of the drug market. To protect their territories, drug traffickers and dealers resort to gun violence and murder.
Marijuana is more difficult for the Department to combat and will take community efforts to abate because, according to the Palomo, “several communities in the Orange Walk district thrive from the production and sales of marijuana.”
The drug is sold widely all over the district. The Department struggles to gather intelligence and fight the prevalence of marijuana and the crimes it leaves in its wake because since the production of the drug benefits some people, useful information is withheld by the community.
Palomo ensured that although the drug market has existed and been imbedded, protected and fostered by gangs and cartels into the community life of Orange Walk Town for a long time, the Department will continue fighting against the prevalence of these drugs and to protect the citizens harmed by its widespread reach.