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Guatemalan gold panner busted in Ceibo Chico

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Posted: Monday, December 16, 2019. 4:49 pm CST.

By BBN Staff:On Thursday, December 12, a  Joint Forces Unit patrol based at Ceibo Chico Conservation Post in the Chiquibul National Park spotted two Guatemalan individuals in a creek at the foothill of the Chiquibul-Maya Mountains, some 8 kilometers inside Belize.

 One of the individuals had a shovel in his hand and the other had an iron bar which both of them were using to dig inside the creek.  

 The two were alerted to stop, however, one of them escaped while the other was apprehended. 

A third individual resting in a camp also managed to escape.

Guatemalan national Santos David Xol Yat, 30, resident of Monte Los Olivos, Peten, Guatemala was found with a white transparent vial with what appeared to be gold mineral.

Gold panning in the Ceibo Chico area has been ongoing since 2011.

Although the persons use rudimentary tools, the impact on the headwaters is tremendous as the mountain top gives way to the collapsing of steep soils, sedimentation clogs the streams, garbage accumulates and fecal matter contaminates the integrity of the water.

A gram of gold is sold from 100 to 150 quetzales.

Santos claims that he and a group comprised of three others have extracted some 15 to 20 grams of gold from the Chiquibul amounting to some 3,000 quetzales. At the time of his detention, he had less than a gram.  Gold is sold at local jewelry shops in Peten.        

Santos was escorted to the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post, then to Tapir Camp and later handed over to the San Ignacio Police Station on December 13, pending charges of illegal entry, defacing a protected area and mining for minerals inside a protected area without a proper permit.

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