Sad to say there's drug trafficking all over the world now. I don't see any of it because I am a day dweller, so by the time these guys are moving around and doing what they do, I am usually sound asleep in my bed. There are incidents where people find things washed up ashore, but the police always encourage people not to get involved and to report it. That is what I would do. I would report it, then not touch it, and leave it alone. Some people are foolish and they think that finding drugs is an easy way to make some money, but it is absolutely not.
The drug trafficking trade is not really here as much in Ambergris Caye because our island is so populated, but in the outer atolls, drug trafficking does exist. Those kind of wash-ups happen regularly because they do these transfers, when they are moving drugs from Colombia to the States. Belize is a nice halfway point, so they push whatever they can push out of their boat or plane and then somebody else comes and picks it up. They move it north constantly, but sometimes they don’t always get all their cargo or the authorities get in the way.
We have the US Coast Guard down here. We also have the Belize Defense Corps and the Belize Coast Guard. We have a drug enforcement unit, so there are authorities to deal with the situation, but because this is a coastal area, there is so much area to cover, it is challenging.
As outer island dwellers, we see some of it, but here on Ambergris Caye, there's just so many people that you don’t see much of it. Every now and again, you get some vagrant on the beach trying to sell things. Every Caribbean island has that. There is always somebody willing to sell you necklaces and if you want something more, I’m sure he has it available, but you just don't engage in that; there are laws here. As a tourist, if you are caught with illegal substances, you are not given any legal exceptions. You are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, just like anybody else. You have to come back for court dates if you are not a resident. It is miserable, and to go to jail here would be the pits, so my recommendation is to stay well away from it.
People who are not engaged in drug issues or any illegal things should not be concerned here in Belize. Especially in the islands because we do not have that kind of interplay, but Belize City has had that kind of interplay before. They have had open shootings and violence. That is only Belize City. That does not happen on the island and that is the good news.
There is not any kind of visible threat anywhere, but like if you go looking for trouble, you're going to find it. People can't be foolish, and you have to keep your wits about you in a foreign country. You shouldn't do things that are against the law of the country and you really shouldn’t do things against the law period. That is why laws are in place.