Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019. 7:39 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Operations Commander, Deputy Commissioner Edward Broaster, reports that police have renewed their efforts to crack down on violent gangs that have plagued Belize City for decades.
Last week, four men charged for being members of two separate rival gangs in the Lake Independence area changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty.
Twenty-six-year-old Akeem Augustine and 21-year-old Ulide Allen, who police accused of being members of the Peace in the Village (PIV) gang, and 25-year-old Kevin Cacho and 23-year-old Jeffrey Buller, who were accused of being members of the Back-A-land Crips gang, were each fined $3,500 by Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford, who also had the option of sending them to jail.
Broaster told us that getting these elements off the street involves “tedious investigation by the police officers, and we have a strategy in place that we will not go into the details, because we do not want to forewarn those who are out there. Only to suffice to say that more arrests will be made.”
Broaster would not say if the Department’s criminal records would be mined for information to catch more gang members, but we understand that in the case of the convicted gangsters, investigations included surveillance. He did note that the disclosure given to the accused contained evidence that appeared overwhelming enough for a change of heart, and the fine was insufficient punishment, so police will ask to have it reviewed and possibly upgraded by law.
The Department, said Broaster, is learning to maximize its strategies to take advantage of the cycle of low periods of crime followed by sudden explosions such as in the last week. It is busy putting out fires across the City as well as patrolling both high-crime and low-crime areas.
Based on intelligence, police have uncovered a new group known as the “New Southside Killers,” described by Broaster as “young persons who seemingly believe that they are invincible and can do as they please.”
But police intend to prove them wrong whether by mediation, which continues in many guises including the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP), or by the Department’s silent strategies in practice.
As for the convicted gangsters, their fines are due by November 25, 2019, in default 3 years in prison.
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