… 8 remain in custody
Dexter Valensuela of Crane, West Coast Demerara was on Friday arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Mc Lennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, charged with two counts of possession of firearms, two counts of possession of ammunition, and two counts of possession of narcotics.
Valensuela, 44, and eight others were on Tuesday held by ranks of the Guyana Police Force and GDF Coast Guards on the Barima River in Region One, North-West District (NWD), with one AR-15 rifle and one AK-47 rifle, each with one magazine, and 19 live rounds of ammunition, one bullet proof vest, and 1.5 kilograms of cannabis.
Valensuela pleaded guilty to possession of an illegal AR-15 rifle and matching ammunition, while denying the other charges. Accordingly, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment together with a $60,000 fine on each charge. His sentence is, however, expected to run concurrently.
He will make his next court appearance on November 21 at the Mabaruma Magistrate’s Court.
Police sources told this publication that checks are being made to determine whether the men were involved in any other illegal activity; and as it relates to the foreigners, the Police are trying to determine whether they are in Guyana legally or otherwise.
Meanwhile, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that, about 5 or 6 weeks ago, the Police received complaints of piracy taking place in the Waini area, hence the reason for the increased Coast Guard presence there.
“They (saw) these two boats and suspicious conduct, saw guns and so. We are enhancing our Coast Guard patrols. We are getting descriptions of some of the people who did the piracy, and it matches some of these guys…,” Ramjattan disclosed.
Six Guyanese and three foreigners were arrested on Tuesday evening following the discovery of the two high-powered weapons along with matching ammunition and other prohibited items in Region One (Barima-Waini).
A party of policemen from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in ‘F’ Division and ranks from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard travelled to the Barima River, NWD to investigate.
53-year-old Delroy Mairs, a mason of Albouystown, Georgetown and of Jamaica; 33-year-old Rafael Ramon, a Venezuelan citizen; 25-year-old Samuel Alvaroz from Cuba; 19-year-old Junior Jack, a sailor of Mabaruma, N-WD; 49-year-old Shawn Phang, a miner of Port Kaituma, N-WD; and boat captains 38-year-old Donstant Rodrigues of Mora, Moruca, N-WD; 44-year-old Dexter Valensuela of Crane, West Coast Demerara (WCD); 48-year-old Corwin Griffith of Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD); and 62-year-old Carrigon Khan of a Pomeroon riverine community, were all held after a 24-hr stakeout.
Four of the men were travelling in a metal boat that was towing a fiberglass one containing the remaining five men. Upon searching the boats, the lawmen unearthed the weapons, ammo and drugs.
The suspects were escorted via air on Wednesday afternoon from Mabaruma to the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters at Eve Leary, Georgetown for further investigations.
According to the Police Force, these arrests are significant since there were, a few weeks ago in the Waini River area, reports of piracy occurring several miles from the Police Floating Base, MV Tamakay.