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Police make first arrest in murder ambush

Posted: Monday, October 4, 2021. 5:45 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Police have formally arrested and charged 34-year-old Gabriel Villafranco, a fisherman of San Mateo Area, San Pedro Town, Belize District, in connection with Saturday’s ambush at Cangrejo Caye, southeast of Ambergris Caye.

Villafranco is accused of ‘Murder, Attempted Murder, Use of Deadly Means of Harm and Wounding’.

While a group of men was out diving for conch, they were ambushed by two groups in different boats. At least four were shot, one of whom, Jerry Espat, subsequently went underwater and died. His body was found on Sunday morning. The others were all hospitalized.

Police continue to search for the others involved, some already known by name.


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