This past week San Pedro Police had its hand full investigating several cases on the island. The biggest and scariest case was that of a triple murder that has the town shocked and has the San Pedro Police Department on high alert. The Department has now claimed that the gruesome murders are all connected with the 25 kilos of cocaine found about three weeks ago in North Ambergris Caye.
It all started on Friday, January 30, at about 6:00 p.m. when San Pedro Police received information in relation to a shooting incident at about 15 miles North of San Pedro Town in the Rocky Point Area.
Information received was that a white skiff, about 20 ft in length with green and black trimmings in the side, powered by a 150-v6 Yamaha engine was being driven by a Coolie decent male person heading to San Pedro Town. Police, with the support of ADU (Anti-Drug Unit), SPU (Special Patrol Unit) and BDF (Belize Defense Force) went to the area at about 6:60 p.m. en route to the north side of island. While travelling through the river in the Boca del Rio Area, police spotted a boat approaching in the opposite direction heading in a southerly direction and fitted the description they had received.
One person was seen driving the boat and was accompanied by a dark skin male person; police then ordered them to stop but they refused to do so. According to police the dark-skinned male person had an object which appeared to be a firearm on his right hand and exchanged gun fire with the police. He then threw the object in the water and jumped off the vessels and swam to the near mangroves where he managed to escape.
Checks were made on the vessel where police found, Eric Swan, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound on the right leg and a bullet graze on the buttocks. Police also found six live rounds of AK-47 ammunition. Swan was taken to the San Pedro Poly Clinic where he was treated by Dr. Javier Zuniga and later transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) where he remains in a stable condition and under guard.
John Paul Saldiver was the First to Appear Dead
On Saturday, January 31, at about 8:00 a.m. Brionnie Swift, 29-year-old, of Boca del Rio Area, visited the station requesting police assistance to locate his friend John Paul Saldivar who was shot in the Rocky Point Area. Swift informed police about a shooting which occurred around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 30, where his friend John Paul Saldivar was shot and believed to be alive.
Police then visited the Rocky Point Bay, 16 miles North Ambergris Caye, at about 12:20 p.m., where they found the lifeless body of a Hispanic male person lying face up on the seashore. The body was half nude and appeared to have gunshot wounds on the head, left upper leg and right lower leg as well as bruises all over the his body. The body was identified as John Paul Saldivar of Corozal Town residing in the San Juan Area by brother of the deceased, Robert Saldivar.
Police searched the area and found a 9 mm Glock pistol along with a magazine with 13 live 9 mm rounds. Also found in the area were two black warm caps adapted as masks, a flash light and a cellular phone. Saldivar’s body is at the KHMH where it awaits a Post Mortem Examination.
Police Exhume Two More Bodies up North
After having detained a number of individuals and gathered information, San Pedro Police revisited the area 16 miles north of Ambergris Caye on Monday, February 2, and at about 4:20p.m. they made a gruesome discovery of two male bodies lying in hole about 20 yards from where John Paul Saldivar had been found.
The bodies were found three days after the killing of John Paul Saldivar and were buried in a shallow grave of about three feet in depth. The bodies were exhumed on Tuesday, February 3, and were identified as that of James Alexander Swan and Eduardo Elias Gutierrez, an onsite post mortem was conducted by Dr. Mario Estradaban later that day. Eduardo Gutierrez was severely bruised up and is believed to have died of internal bleeding and James Swan died due to a gunshot on the left side of the head.
The discovery of the two bodies came six days after James Swan and Eduardo Gutierrez were reported missing; police investigations reveal that the homicides of all three men are all connected to the first discovery of 25 kilos of cocaine made two to three weeks ago.
Police have stated that these fellows are no strangers to the police department since they have gotten numerous reports of these men threatening anyone who approached that particular area in which their bodies were found because it is believed that that is where they conducted their drug business. Police are also linking these cases eight members of the Belize City George Street crew who were detained on Friday, January 30 in the Boca del Rio area with a large amount of money which totaled to $33,000US dollars.
San Pedro Police are positive that San Pedro will be at peace as they believe that they have the majority of trouble makers that were involved in these gruesome murders and that they will be after others involved in order to prosecute them and resort peace and tranquility to the island.
Family members of both Swan and Gutierrez gathered at the beachfront of the cemetery on Tuesday evening, February 3, for the arrival of the bodies. Eduardo Gutierrez was laid to rest around 6:30p.m. while James Swan was buried around 7:00p.m.
Police detained Eric Swan for investigation in relation to the case of John Paul Saldivar as well as eight other individuals from Belize City. Eric Swan is wanted in connection with a report of robbery in the Stann Creek District. San Pedro Police is optimistic that several arrests in connection to the triple murders of Saldivar, Swan and Gutierrez will be made soon. The Commissioner of Police has dispatched Head National Crimes Investigation, Senior Superintendent James Magdaleno and the Police Internal Affairs Division personnel to conduct a thorough investigation.
As of Press Time
Ivan Tun, 24-year-old, Belizean fisherman residing in the Boca del Rio Area reported to Police that on the Thursday, January 29, whilst in the Bacalar Chico Area 18 miles from San Pedro Town at about 6:00 p.m. he dropped off James Swan and Eduardo Gutierrez on the beach front as they were going to get coconut water and as they enter the nearby bushes he heard about ten gun shots, he then drove off and yelled at his friends but there was no answer. He then left area en route to San Pedro Town and reported the matter.
With the information received police revisited the area 18 miles North Ambergris Caye where they found a freshly dug grave and inside the hole was the body of James Alexander Swan and Eduardo Gutierrez. As a result, Police investigation led to the detention of Brionnie Swift, Victor Garnett, Alex Soler who were charged with the crime of Murder and Conspiracy to commit murder.