A Guatemalan national was arrested and charged in Belize for immigration offences and illegal entry into the Chiquibul National Park.
According to official reports on Friday 31st of May Conservation Rangers along with Special Constables operating in the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul National Park, intercepted three Guatemalan gold panners operating within Belizean protected Territory. Two of the suspects managed to escape into the jungle, however officials were able to subdue the third before placing him under arrest for illegal entry into the Chiquibul National Park.
The detainee was identified as 22-year-old Guatemalan national Salomon Martinez Pascual. Pascual who was recognized as a repeat offender was found with 5 grams of what appeared to be gold inside a small plastic vial.
Pascual was subsequently handed over to authorities in San Ignacio where he was officially charged with illegal entry into a National Park as well as various immigration offences on Monday June 3rd. He appeared before the San Ignacio Magistrate court where he pled guilty to both offences and was fined three thousand dollars or twelve months imprisonment for illegal entry into the National Park, and one thousand dollars or six months imprisonment for the immigration offences. The vial with gold confiscated from Pascual is to be handed over to the Mining Unit for any further charges to be levied on the accused.
GOB also announced that in future patrols, ranger teams will wear a chest-mounted camera to record footage of incidents to aid in the prosecution of cases.