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Aug 23, 2012
6 containers of suspected pseudoephedrine turn out to be chalk
FLORENCIO MARIN JR.
Earlier this year, a shipment of seven forty-foot containers housing a significant quantity of methylamine hydrochloride, a chemical precursor used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, was confiscated by the Customs Department. The consignment, valued at an estimated ten billion dollars, was shipped from China to Belize in February to Belize Gardens Consortium, a local company owned by businessman Vernon Cuthkelvin. Following the seizure, samples of the substance were sent to the United States for testing while the Anti-Drug Unit led an investigation into the matter. In the interim Cuthkelvin sought representation from attorney Lionel Welch, who indicated that a charge of making a false declaration on a customs entry was the only legal action that could be taken against him. But the charge never materialized and today Minister of National Security John Saldivar said that the chemicals, after being tested, turned out to be nothing more than chalk. The investigation, he added, has since been closed.
Florencio Marin Jr., Area Representative, Corozal South East
“Can the Minister of National Security say what is the status of the police investigation into the seven forty foot containers that were shipped to Belize in February containing chemicals which form the base for the deadly drug commonly known as ‘crystal meth’ and whether or not anyone has been arrested or charged in this matter?”
John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
“Mr. Speaker, samples sent abroad to the United States for analysis have proven that the container for the Belize Evergreen Distributors and Supplies was found to be chalk, calcium carbonate. The three containers that were declared as titanium dioxide for Belize Gardens Consortium was found to contain chalk, calcium carbonate which was found to the front of the container, while samples taken from the back of the container was found to be all methylamine hydrochloride which is a precursor for the production of methamphetamine. The other three containers which were declared as ammonium sulphate were found to contain some ammonium sulphate from the samples taken from the front while the samples taken from further in the back of the containers were found to contain methylamine hydrochloride. Mr. Speaker, calcium carbonate, ammonium sulphate, and methylamine hydrochloride are not prohibited substances under the current laws of Belize therefore there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the person or persons had committed or is committing any offence under the laws of Belize. As a result, there were no arrests made and the police investigation into this matter is considered closed.”
The “chalk” was destroyed, reportedly with assistance from the US.