no_imageIt is no secret that the infiltration of Belize’s border and our forest reserves by Guatemalan Xateros has become a growing national problem. And while the magnitude of the damage caused by these border incursions is unknown, yesterday rangers from Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) intercepted and charged a Guatemalan national for having in his possession Xate.

According to the release, at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, whilst conducting a reconnaissance patrol at an area known as Cristina in the Chiquibul Forest, FCD rangers intercepted and detained David Alvisures Cheche who is originally from La Rejoya, Peten, Guatemala. This person was found 14.7 kilometers inside Belizean territory. The release said that Cheche was found with 720 fish tail Xate leaves. He was escorted to Tapir Camp then subsequently to the San Ignacio Police Station where he was charged for unlawful possession of forest produce by the Forest Department and for illegal entry by the Immigration Department.

For context, Xate is known to be exported from Guatemala to the United States and Europe for floral arrangements. David reported to the rangers that he would have taken the product to Santa Elena, Peten where another intermediary person would buy it from him. The 720 leaves would be worth 180 quetzales or $53.00 Belize dollars. It is not certain if the person in Santa Elena has a permit from el Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas to buy and sale Xate, however, it is known that persons who Xate permits would usually get engaged on Xate laundering, meaning that they put in illegal Xate along with the certified Xate.

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