As Police intensify operations to capture the alleged mastermind of the July 9 Camp Street jailbreak and prison fire, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken has disclosed that investigators were not ruling out the possibility that the fugitive could still be in or around Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Two months ago, in an escape bid, prisoners set the penitentiary on fire, resulting in it eventually being flattened and prison officer Odinga Wickham being killed.
The alleged mastermind, Mark Royden Durant, called “Smallie”, and his surviving accomplice, Cobena Stephens, called OJ, remain on the loose. On September 1, ex-Policeman Uree Varswyck was killed in an exchange of gunfire at Linden moments after being spotted with Durant, also called Mark Royden Williams.
Commander Hicken, who also functions as Head of (Police) Operations, was questioned by reporters on Monday about the efforts to recapture the wanted man. The Commander said that Police were looking at various possibilities.
“It (the operation) is intel-driven and we have a posture in place,” Hicken pointedly stated.
It is believed that “Smallie” is still in Guyana and is moving along the coast and through the backlands. As such, Joint Services ranks are stationed throughout the country to recapture the murder convict who was sentenced to death along with Dennis “Anaconda” Williams for the 2008 Bartica Massacre. Hicken stressed that operations were being carried out across the land to recapture the elusive convict.
“The exchange was in Linden and he was with Varswyck [and] we are not ruling out the possibility that he’s still in Linden and we are not ruling out the possibility that he’s not in Linden. We have our postures throughout the length and breadth of the country just in case,” the Assistant Commissioner observed.
Apart from Williams and Stephens, another prisoner, who escaped in a separate prison breakout at Lusignan, Paul Goriah remains on the run. However, he is not believed to be moving with “Smallie”.
Durant and Varswyck were seen in the Central Amelia’s Ward area of Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), a short distance away from the Amelia’s Ward Police Outpost. When members of the Joint Services had approached their hideout, on September 1, the wanted men opened fire. Ranks returned fire, killing Varswyck. Williams, however, made good his escape.
A 9mm pistol with 40 live rounds, a haversack and cloth bag containing medication, a gas mask, military camouflage clothing, toiletries and a cellular phone were all found when Police retrieved Varswyck’s body.
In late August, ex-cop and Linden resident, Teon Allen 31, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of sheltering fugitives – Williams and Varswyck. He was remanded and was scheduled to next appear in court on September 28.
Meanwhile, the hunt for the three remaining escapees continues.