Utila Airstrip Takeover
As over a dozen AK-47 armed men take over Utila airstrip, local police find themselves outnumbered, outgunned and running for cover.

August 1st, 2006
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] Around 10:30pm, on May 24 at least one plane suspected of carrying drugs landed at the Utila airport. Alerted by locals, two municipal and two Preventiva police officers arrived at the scene to investigate. The unlit Utila landing strip has no airport building or guard and is located three kilometers from town on a secluded road.

At the entrance to the landing strip the four police officers were confronted by five of as many as 15 masked and armed with AK-47 men. Three police officers ran into the bushes and one returned to Utila town on a motorcycle.

According to Utila’s chief of police, Lieutenant Nelson Murillo, 32, Chief of Bay Islands police Mejia was alerted of the accidents and he in turn contacted the Honduran air force, who declined to intervene as “no suspicious air activity was detected.”

Locals heard noises of boats running late at night in the Utila Harbour, but it is unclear weather the armed men only refueled the plane, or transferred its cargo onto boats. The following day, two 25 gallon fuel canisters were found on the scene.

“Some of the people involved in this live here,” said a Utila resident afraid to reveal his identity. According to local sources Utila airport is sometimes used for similar suspicious activity two-three times a month, usually around 2-3am. “This is a case where the state needs to get involved,” said Murillo. “We are just not equipped to handle this.” [/private]

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