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Joint task force operation conducts drug bust on the Rio Hondo

By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter

The Coast Guard, Belize Defense Force (BDF) and Customs Department conducted a joint operation, this week, that led to the confiscation of 6.8 pounds of high grade marijuana. 

Security agents on patrol spotted a small boat in an area on the Rio Hondo river near Ramonal behind Patchakan village at around 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and approached it. They encountered two persons, believed to be Belizeans, who jumped overboard, swam to the riverbank, and escaped.

The packages were found wrapped tightly in dark plastic, but had no visible markings to track them back to any cartel. Authorities know, however, that they were being transported from Chetumal.

Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, operations officer of the Belize National Coast Guard said that intercepting this amount of cannabis is important because it was definitely destined to hit the Belizean market. He estimated the amount of the drugs at around $7000.

Soberanis added that their intelligence has gathered that the area is frequently used for contraband activity and drug trafficking. As a result of this intelligence, the agencies maintain continuous surveillance and monitoring there. 

Soberanis stated that many people are known to operate in the area, both of Belizean and Mexican nationality, but no one in particular can be linked to this drug bust. 

The Custom Department is keeping the confiscated vessel pending the outcome of an investigation that will decide how it will be used.

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