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Belmopan man fined over $1,000 for facilitating 10 immigrants into Belize illegally

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2024. 8:19 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: Saul Alexander Blanco, a 37-year-old salesman from Maya Mopan area, Belmopan, was arraigned late yesterday on charges of facilitating illegal entry into Belize. Blanco pleaded guilty in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court and was fined a total of $10,050, which was later reduced to $1,005.

Blanco was caught by Belizean authorities on Tuesday, April 15, 2024, as he was seen running from a white Toyota 4-Runner vehicle, which was intercepted by the Belize City Immigration Investigation Unit in Sandhill. Inside the vehicle were eight adults and two minors, three Ecuadorians and seven Salvadorans.

All 10 immigrants appeared in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to illegal entry. They were each fined $1,005, which they paid immediately. They are now awaiting expulsion from Belize.

In mitigation, Blanco apologized to the court, pleading for leniency. His attorney, John Nembhard, argued that Blanco should be fined only once under Section 151 of the Indictable Procedure Act, as he was charged for a single act of facilitating. The Senior Magistrate agreed, reducing Blanco’s fine to $1,005, due by October 31, 2024, or face six months imprisonment.

However, the Immigration Prosecutor revealed that the Immigration Department is seeking forfeiture of the white Toyota 4-Runner, which Blanco claims is a rental vehicle not belonging to him. The forfeiture application is set to be heard on May 21, 2024.

The Senior Magistrate clarified to Blanco that forfeiture procedures require the vehicle’s owner to be summoned to court. Authorities are investigating the rental vehicle’s ownership and its connection to Blanco.

 

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