Posted: Friday, May 27, 2022. 8:50 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: A resident of Valley of Peace, Cayo, originally from August Pine Ridge, today agreed to plead guilty to facilitating the commission of an immigration offense – that is, facilitating the transport of immigrant nationals from Nicaragua and Guatemala, including his wife.
Appearing before Magistrate Kara Walters, Luis Alonzo Guevara, 28, stated that when he agreed to give the five men, ranging in age from 18 to 43, a lift to his native Orange Walk, he did not know that they did not have their papers. They offered him $50 for gas but he said he did not accept the money. He nonetheless accepted the charge.
The Immigration and Labour Departments, Police, and the Social Security Board conducted a joint operation leading to the arrest of Guevara, a market vendor in Belmopan; his wife, Roxanne Lopez-Mendez, 24, a Guatemalan national and also a vendor; and four other Nicaraguans and a Guatemalan. They all pleaded guilty to separate charges.
The group was caught in a Mazda pick-up truck between miles 15 and 16 on the Philip Goldson Highway.
The immigrants – Hector Emelio Martinez Castro, 29, a Nicaraguan driver; Blanca Rosabelle Castro, 26, a Guatemalan Receptionist; Javier Evan Chacamo, a Nicaraguan driver; 18-year-old Nicaraguan student, Bellin Guadalupe Martinez; and a, 43-year-old, Eric Gabriel Castro, a Nicaraguan farmer – each pleaded guilty to illegal entry and were each fined $1,000 and cost of court due immediately.
Lopez-Mendez lives with Guevara as his wife and said she was seeking asylum in Belize; however, the Immigration prosecutor explained that as a rule, asylum is not typically granted to Guatemalans. However, she would qualify for permanent residency as a spouse of a Belizean and thus avoided potential deportation.
Both Guevara and Lopez-Mendez pleaded guilty and were each fined $1,000 and the cost of court to be paid by September 30, 2022, in default six months in prison.
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