Posted: Friday, April 28, 2023. 9:08 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The exhibit keeper for the Belize Police Department was arraigned this afternoon on ten counts of negligent harm, one for each minor reported injured by ingesting candies allegedly laced with marijuana which he allegedly threw out.
The accused has retained the services of defense counsel Darrell Bradley, who at his arraignment told the court that, “It is the accused position that these items were deposited in the exhibit room. They were not labeled and appeared to be garbage as they were brought in two garbage bags and left there for a period of time. In the past these items were left there for a while, he would throw them out because at times they smelled. In this case, the items were there for 3 weeks.”
During an interview on Thursday, Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police, confirmed that Police’s Anti-Narcotics Unit had retrieved the imported candies which had entered the country in January, and stored the boxes in the national exhibit room while testing was conducted on selected samples, which now confirm the presence of marijuana.
But before the testing was complete, the exhibit keeper decided to dispose of the items in a garbage trailer on the Queen Street Police Station compound, which was then hauled to the transfer station/dump site at Mile 3 George Price Highway, from where they were discovered and apparently reintroduced via vendors to the population of at least one school, of whom 38 children and adults were sickened. The Commissioner said the yard man also collected some of the candies for himself.
As for who imported the items in question, the name on the barrel is a now-former police officer, Akeem Gamboa, who coincidentally was dismissed from the Department following a tribunal on a separate matter – a fight that took place two years ago at the Dangriga Town Police Station. But as of Thursday, the barrel had not been claimed by anyone.
According to the Commissioner, the Department would have set up a sting operation upon receiving the results of the tests on the gummies, but that went out following the news scoop on Channel 7 on Wednesday night. Police still intend to question Gamboa and are looking for him.
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