Over the weekend, a patrol unit consisting of BDF soldiers and an FCD Ranger managed to detain six Guatemalan nationals who were panning for gold in Belizean territory near Ceibo Chico, Southern Chiquibul. Official reports indicate that on Saturday sometime around 3:00 p.m., the patrol unit detected the sound of voices which came from a camp located near the Ceibo Chico Creek.
Upon approaching the said area, authorities observed four male individuals excavating inside a pit while the other two men were carrying water in small containers which is used to sieve the soil coming out from the pit, separating it from the gold deposits. A total of two camps were located which contained clothing, food items, machetes as well as a homemade shotgun which was hidden under the clothes.
The men were identified as 38 year old Agusto Perez Gonzalez of Dolores Peten; 26 year old Wilfredo Antoniel Chavez of Barrio Nuevo; 18 year old Dimas Espana, 17 year olds Jesus Espana and Henry Lopez of Las Brisas and 17 year old Victor Aldana Perez of Dolores, Peten. All men were handed over to San Ignacio Police on Sunday August 13th and where they were charged with ‘Illegal entry’, ‘mineral extraction without a permit’ and ‘defacing a protected area’.
It is of note that the men were handed over until the following day due to a lack of transport in the area.