Duo charged in connection with illegal airstrip/aircraft

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Two Lethem residents who reportedly confessed to Police that they constructed an illegal airstrip in Rupununi, Region Nine (9) were on Friday charged when they appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

(L-in White) Nathan Hamilton and Wazim King

Thirty-seven-year- old Wazim King of 222 Kumuku Drive, Lethem and twenty-one-year-old Nathan Hamilton of 107 Beverley Hill Drive, Lethem appeared before City Magistrate Judy Latchman and denied the allegation made against them.

The court heard that between August 10-13 2017, at Rupununi Region Nine, both men conspired to facilitate the illegal landing of an aircraft used for trafficking weapons and drugs by constructing an illegal airstrip.

Attorneys for the defendants questioned why their clients are being charged when the mastermind in the matter and their employer, Shushan Singh is not in Police custody and was in fact released by Police some time ago.

It was revealed to the Court by King’s Attorney, Jerome Khan that the defendants admitted to being employed by Singh to construct the airstrip unknowingly.

He disclosed that both men are cooperating fully with Police and should be used as witnesses instead of being charged.

However, Police Prosecutor, Vishnu Hunt objected to bail being granted and revealed that the defendants gave statements implicating themselves and clearly stated to Police that they had knowledge of what they were building.

As such, Magistrate Latchman remanded the men to prison to return on September 18 2017.

It was previously reported that an illegal Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft and a 5,400-foot long; 45-foot wide makeshift airstrip was found in the Upper Takutu region by ranks.

The abandoned Beechcraft on the 5,400 foot long airstrip

Three men were seen existing said aircraft but managed to evade Police.

Identification documents, several pieces of communication equipment, including cellular phones, flashlights, a quantity of dried ration and medical supplies were found aboard the aircraft.

Additionally, a search of the area unearthed three abandoned camps, in which canned food and other items were found along with containers of suspected aviation fuel.

A probe into the matter led to the arrest of the above named businessman who was later released.

Police have since launched a manhunt to recapture the said businessman.

An inter-agency probe has since been launched and it was unearthed that the aircraft, which initially had a Columbian registration number, was actually registered to Brazil’s third largest banks, Banco Bradesco.

As investigations into the matter continues, Commander in Chief, President David Granger told army officers to be vigilant at the country’s borders. He also called on various stakeholders in the region to work together to protect the borders against intruders.

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