Mario Bustillos, Belize Police Department’s National Exhibit Keeper, has pleaded not guilty to charges related to marijuana-laced gummies that sent a number of people, including a five-year-old child, to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) late last month.
Bustillos, who was released on BDZ$7,000 bond, was charged with ten counts of negligent damage in relation to the youngsters who were hospitalised after eating marijuana-laced candies.
Judge Dennison Mannon ordered Bustillos, 38, to report to a police station every Monday and not to come within 100 feet of any of the victims or prosecution witnesses as part of his release conditions.
He is also not permitted to leave the jurisdiction without the court’s authorisation.
According to attorney Darrell Bradley, his client maintains that the goods dumped in the exhibit room were unlabeled and seemed to be junk that had been there for nearly three weeks.
However, the police believe that Bustillos’ negligence in not following protocol and improper disposal of the items is what resulted in the drug-laced candy making its way to the streets and being consumed by minors.
FAILED TO FOLLOW PROCEDURES
“Clearly, all indications are that a person did something on his own accord without following the procedure that is in place,” Police Commissioner Chester Williams told media, adding that the exhibit keeper did not follow the routine.
“The thing is…the exhibit keeper is not a novice. He’s been there for a while and he understands the procedure, which irritates me. He is aware! And if you know the protocol but do not follow it, and things like this happen, you must be held accountable.”
The Belize government has ordered a thorough investigation to determine the source of some sweet treats…ingested by a number of children and adults.
“Initial information indicates that the treats were purchased from two individuals, who are now in police custody along with some recovered items,” the Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement.
READ: Belize: Marijuana laced treats lands scores of children in hospital – Our Today