HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

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HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby El Pelon » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:22 pm

Slowly but surely the island is taking on crime characteristics of the mainland. It's already sucking wind due to a massive drop off in tourism. The keep this up and it'll be all she wrote for the island. Cruise ships won't come if they start showing a murder rate like the mainland. If the cruise ships stop, the money stops.

Martensville man gunned down in Honduras
Colleagues raising money for info on killers
Last Updated: Sunday, September 20, 2009 | 2:09 PM CT Comments5Recommend15
CBC News
  A Martensville, Sask., man working as a teacher on a Honduran island was shot to death Friday during an armed robbery, family friends told CBC News. Krissy Larsen-Martens, with her husband, Dallas Martens, on their wedding day in 2008. Dallas was gunned down in Honduras on Friday.Krissy Larsen-Martens, with her husband, Dallas Martens, on their wedding day in 2008. Dallas was gunned down in Honduras on Friday. (Facebook.com)

Dallas Martens and his wife, Krissy Larsen-Martens, moved to the island of Roatan two months ago.

Family friend Fred Makowecki said Sunday the couple were out celebrating their wedding anniversary Friday evening and stopped to look at a piece of property on the island.

Two masked gunmen approached the couple and attempted to steal Larsen-Martens's purse.

"As far as I know, they stepped out to rob Krissy and Dallas stepped between them and was shot three times," said Makowecki, who lives in Drumheller, Alta. The wounds to his chest area killed him instantly, Makowecki added.

He said Larsen-Martens was not hurt, but the suspects made off with her purse.

'They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time'—Valerie Nelson

It's not known whether any arrests have been made or how any police investigation is proceeding.

People who worked with the couple are trying to raise money for a reward to pay for information about the killing.

"Money talks in this country, and these men must be caught," friend Valerie Nelson said in an email from the island to Makowecki.

She said most murders on the island involve drugs or personal disputes — neither of which factored into Friday's shooting.

"They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time," Nelson said.

Relatives are currently on their way to Honduras to help Larsen-Martens cope with her husband's death.
Couple on verge of parenthood
Dallas Martens holds a baby named Will during a Christmas celebration last year. Martens and his wife hoped to adopt Will, a Honduran boy. Dallas Martens holds a baby named Will during a Christmas celebration last year. Martens and his wife hoped to adopt Will, a Honduran boy. (Morgan Jayne Project photo)

Makowecki said the couple were in the process of adopting a baby Honduran boy who they met after getting married in Honduras about a year ago.

The baby, Will, is involved with an initiative called the Morgan Jayne project, which Makowecki started.

The project provides aid to Roatan-born infants with HIV, but Will is not HIV-positive, Makowecki said. It was through the organization that Makowecki met Martens and his wife.

Makowecki expressed immense grief at Martens's death and his wife's ordeal.

"This man loves children, he loves live, he loves people, he's giving, he has no bounds for his generosity," he said. "He was just a great young man. The world is a sadder place today, I'll tell you."
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -- Howard Thurman

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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby pritchard » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:20 am

That's very tragic. I'm surprised I heard so much about the Montreal woman killed on the island off Cancun, but nothing about this murder in the local media. sad.
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby coldharvest » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:27 am

Has anyone else noticed the huge amount of murders when El Pelon goes south?
.....I'm just sayin'
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby El Pelon » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:24 am

Has anyone else noticed the huge amount of murders when El Pelon goes south?
.....I'm just sayin'


I have an alibi !!!

Seriously though, I used to think it was weird that stuff always happened around our trip times. Then I realized that is just happens every day and we happen to work in some of the most violent communities in the north part of the country. It seems kind of like bad luck, or poor planning, until one realizes poverty is certainly a breeding factor for crime. When you work in the poorest areas, paradoxically you will work with some of the most wonderful people on the planet and be faced with some of the most evil people on the planet, all at the same time and in the same place.

For example, a couple of pics from today's paper. Both from places we have worked at one time or another over the past decade...it's every day and will be every day.

Image
Image

The island violence, however, is going to a new level. It is still major news when a gringo dies out there, but the reality that the mainland tendencies are working their way to the islands is starting to set in. It's sad. Of course, our clinic site on Roatan is right in the middle of where the "problem children" base their operations. We've had islanders (expats) warn us not to work there because of the danger. If we used their system of gauging the danger level, however, we wouldn't be able to work in Honduras at all. Even though it is rough by island standards, it's still a better place than most impoverished communities on the mainland.

This is where education, information, relationship development, etc. are critical to being able to function in a DP. You can't stop the violence and you can't eliminate risk, but you can take steps...for us it has been over time...to mitigate the risk factors. Getting to know who you need to know is a big deal that can have major results on safety and security. Getting a grasp on what "Standard DP Precautions" means -AND FOLLOWING THEM- is very important and can allow you to continue working in places that other have abandoned, or won't attempt. Having that grasp also helps you figure out when it is time to bug out and when it is time to say "nah, I think we'll work somewhere else for a while." You don't always get it right, but you fail consistently if you don't even TRY to get it right.

It also doesn't hurt to pull very painful teeth from the worst hombres in the village. Even though their gratitude only lasts for a couple of hours, it can buy you a day to work in peace.
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby pritchard » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:27 am

coldharvest wrote:Has anyone else noticed the huge amount of murders when El Pelon goes south?
.....I'm just sayin'


Actually, I notice serious political unrest/rioting and reports of the return of an exiled demagogue whenever El Pelon reports to the BFC from Honduras. Coincidence? I think not...
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby El Pelon » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:11 am

Got an email from the Roatan rumormill that a local thief had been missing for a few days and turned up... chopped up ....in Sandy Bay (on the tourist end of the island). Not a foreign national this time but still reflects on the changing atmosphere on the island. These things used to not happen. I have issued a decree to my team members that Standard DP Precautions will be in full effect on the island from now on. I used to be a little more lax on security measures when we weren't on the mainland, but I suppose it is better to get things on track now, rather than AFTER an incident.

And I am in the US right now so no one can pin this one on me! ;)
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby vagabond » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:09 am

Do you have any theories on why this area is getting worse compared to the mainland? I'm sure the politics effecting the tourism isn't helping as you said. Other factors?
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby El Pelon » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:52 pm

Do you have any theories on why this area is getting worse compared to the mainland? I'm sure the politics effecting the tourism isn't helping as you said. Other factors?


When compared to the mainland, it is still VERY tame. The security situation on the mainland has been in a steady decline for as long as I have been involved with Honduras. It has ebbs and flows, but the track is still in a negative direction. I didn't mean to infer that the island is crashing at a faster rate. It is just crashing at a rate not seen on the island....if that makes any sense.

There are probably multiple reasons for things going downhill on the island. Among the possibilities:
-Lack of adequate law enforcement and real consequence (arrest and conviction).
-Cops are rotated on and off the island, not many cops actually call the island "home" for very long.
-Influx of mainlanders looking for work and bringing some mainland bad criminal elements with them. If they can't find work on the island, some folks "turn to the dark side"
-Economy crashing due to global economic down turn as well as current political strife. Poor economy has always resulted in increase in crime
-Drug transport is alive and well, some bad elements are involved in that (this hits Utila a lot more than Roatan, but Roatan has its fair share) and they exert their influence on the island
-One thing that has to be considered is the behavior and attitudes of many of the victims of previous expat homicides. A lot of them were engaged in shady business deals or had personality traits that led to them crossing the wrong people. There are explanations for many of them ending up 6 feet under. Not excuses for killing someone, but explanations that make sense on how someone would get killed. These homicides would have been preventable if people would have behaved themselves a little better or a little differently
-I'm sure there's lots more

One result of the most recent expat murder, however, is an improvement in the expat community developing a crime watch network. Just a couple of days ago, a robbery/home invasion was prevented because a tip was posted online. The victim-to-be was notified and was waiting and fended off 6-8 would-be attackers the second they crossed his property line. The communication and relationship with island cops has also moved to a much better level.

Nothing will make it "paradise" like the brochures say, but if the islanders take control of the situation, they can stop the trend and stabilize things. Until it turns around, I will be keeping my eyes and ears open at all times. I'm still leaving the body armor at home when on the island though, I just use that in some areas on the mainland. The resort areas are still more likely to primarily have petty crimes, and not so violent crimes, as problems, but the area where our clinic is is where many of the bad guys live so our travel into and out of the red zone calls for diligence.

In the case of the Canadian being shot, the rumormill is out of control with theories and accusations, but I have found that you can't believe anything for a couple of weeks. We'll see how this incident plays out.
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby vagabond » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:53 pm

Thanks for the info Doc. It seems like the expat community is already circling the wagons which might limit the violence to the locals.

What are your DP procedures like? Limiting movement and taking higher precautions than normal?
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby El Pelon » Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:11 pm

We have a multi-layered approach to security. There’s a lot to it, but some of the bullet points are:

Relationship development with locals - never trust completely but establish good rapport with those who have the ear of the community. They know when things are happening and if they like you, you are more likely to be notified if you are in danger

Predictable unpredictability – messing up the schedule so that when we are moving in and out of zones
of total predictability we can’t be patterned

Use of “Decoys” – this is primarily on the mainland. Mission teams and groups show up every day and they all wear the same t-shirt and have tons of stuff (we call them decoys). The bus that picks them up usually has the name of the organization they are working with, as well as where it is located, painted on the side. Makes it easy for bad guys to know where to go and how to direct their buddies waiting on the highway with a cell phone call to be ready to intercept for some banditry. We let these groups load up and pull out first. We don’t wish them ill will, but we know they will be there and we use their high profile to our advantage to sneak out undetected.

Drive like you stole it - If someone can keep up with me on highways on the mainland then they are after us. It's part of blending in. We gear down the speeds and style on the island to match the slower pace there. I figured out I was doing it wrong on the island the first time I was out there. I drove like I do on the mainland and I realized there was a problem when I kept passing taxis. It's virtually impossible to pass a taxi, I'm nuts but those guys are CRAZY!

Watch the watchers – I arrive early to the airport and see who is hanging out at the airport. If there are folks that don’t belong (the normal luggage porters, taxi drivers, and money changers) watch their behavior. Most are waiting for someone on the plane but some are waiting for an opportunity
Be invisible – No one on our teams is allowed to wear jewelry. We have vehicles that blend into the normal traffic, nothing flashy.

Tinted windows in all vehicles

We travel in convoy with radio communication

We have a “hit plan” in place should one of the vehicles in the convoy get tagged in a bandit hit

When we have the option, we have professional security with us

Males around the doors of vehicles

No one goes anywhere alone

Misinformation/disinformation – We intentionally mislead when people ask what our plans are. What seems to be an innocent conversation could be bad guys casing the team for a hit. I even tell team members incorrect information because they can’t keep their mouths shut. If they don’t know what the plan is they can’t leak it

Keep phones charged at all times, keep emergency numbers handy

Keep fuel at ½ tank or more at all times

Eval escape routes and park with vehicles ready to roll.

There’s more but you get the idea
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby vagabond » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:41 pm

A bit more intense than dentistry in KY definitely.

That's some useful BFC info right there for anyone going into not so safe areas. And flipflop said we were useless and boring...
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby wagner92 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:19 am

I was robbed on March 17, 2011 and am wondering that it may be very near to the place where the canadian was shot and killed. There is an old abandoned property with a house almost finished. The owner was killed a few years back and the house was never finished. It is off the main road between West End and West Bay. I am sure that local armed robbers are getting into the west end neighborhood around brick oven pizza through this paved driveway leading to the old house. It is a short walk through the woods to some of the residences in this west end area, up the hill from the main drag with restaurants and bars. After we were robbed by two tall spanish speaking men, with a silver pistol, I heard countless stories about people being held up at gunpoint in this area. This area is HOT and the most dangerous area I have visited in my life, and I've been to a hell of a lot of places. I think that crime here is being under reported and that not enough is being done by the local authorities. Anyone else have any info on this area. I'm trying to compile some info to present to the minister of security of Honduras and see if something can be done. I know something was done of this nature a few years back and a cobra force of officers was brought over from the mainland to clean up this area. That may not have lasted very long, but it was a good effort from what I've been told and several bad characters were arrested. They may be back on the streets again, but that's another story.
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby El Pelon » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:02 am

I'm trying to compile some info to present to the minister of security of Honduras and see if something can be done.


He's aware.

Nothing will be done.
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Postby el3so » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:28 pm

Doc D!
Endut! Hoch hech!
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Re: HONDURAS - Roatan, another murder in paradise

Postby wagner92 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:05 am

Hey El Pelon,

I did hear that something was done a few years back. Don't know if you are aware of it. Someone did present a load of statements from people who had been victims of armed robberies. I think an American was also shot and killed in a home invasion robbery. Apparently a bunch of cobras were sent down, many people were rounded up, arrested, and a load of stolen goods were recovered. I understand not much is being done right now, but people were able to motivate some sort of action before. Do you think that is impossible now, unlikely, improbable? Are there people in law enforcement involved?
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