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Three Guatemalans busted with weapons inside Chiquibul National Park

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2024. 10:31 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: On April 11, 2024, Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) was conducting a patrol from the Rio Blanco Conservation Post, heading towards the illegal road constructed by Guatemalans in southern Chiquibul National Park.

There, the joint forces unit encountered 3 Guatemalans.

When detained and searched the individuals were identified as Rigoberto Caal, Hector Canan Hernandez and Isaias Caal Coc.

The 3 Guatemalan nationals had firearms in their possession.

They had a .22 rifle, a 16 gauge shotgun and a wooden homemade handgun.

Live rounds were also found on their possession.

Caal, Canan and Coc were taken to the San Ignacio Police Station via the extensive route through Rio Blanco, Ceibo Chico, Natural Arch, Tapir Camp and onwards to San Ignacio where it is expected that the Police Department, Immigration Department and the Forest Department will lay charges.

The Guatemalans were busted 400 meters within the boundary of the Chiquibul National Park.

FCD says that investigation reveals that they are from the nearby village of Monte Los Olivos and they were heading towards a plantation.

Due to the firearms found with them, they would certainly also engage in hunting.

“Along the western border human activity is always persistent and hunting pressure is typically imposed from across the Guatemalan communities. Oftentimes, hunting is also connected with other illegal activities,” FCD says.

FCD notes that Monte Los Olivos has been the prominent community engaged with illegal gold panning for many years in southern Chiquibul.

 They have also been practicing crop cultivation for many years, although with a constant presence at the Rio Blanco Conservation Post since 2008 the forest has been recovering.

The reclaiming of the forest is gradual but other areas south of the CP are being targeted.

Transect lines by Guatemalans in new forested areas is a new documented phenomenon, which demonstrates an activity to possess lands within Belizean territory.

 

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