-was asked to backdate receipts for communications equipment
The Canadian man who died here 11 days after he was shot was in Guyana for a transaction with Ricardo Rodrigues whom he knew from previous visits, and he was also acquainted with now-imprisoned drug lord, Roger Khan, according to well-placed sources.
Sources close to the Rodrigues investigation told Stabroek News that Jean Pierre Le Blanc was here at the request of Rodrigues and had been asked to provide backdated receipts for communication devices sold to him back in 2003. It is unclear if the receipts were linked to the ammunition bust at Tabatinga, Lethem in early October for which Rodrigues had been arrested and then released by the police. It is believed that the arms bust led to the killing of Rodrigues and one of his bodyguards in two separate attacks last month.
Le Blanc was hit by a bullet on October 15 when gunmen burst into the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club bar at Thomas Lands and killed Rodrigues in a hail of gunfire. Le Blanc’s cover story after the shooting was that he was looking for a place to have cold beers and was taken by his taxi driver to the GMR&SC bar. This, the sources said, was definitely not the case. It was also revealed that the Jamaican man who was wounded during the killing of Rodrigues was Le Blanc’s bodyguard. The sources said the fact that Le Blanc would feel the need to travel with a bodyguard was a sign of the nature of his business here and that he knew there were security risks. His security guard took his own discharge from the Georgetown Hospital and returned to Jamaica several days after the shooting.
Police had said that among the assault rifles unearthed at the Rupununi location were one Icom VHF radio set and one Icom hand-held radio set. It was these sets for which Le Blanc was being asked by Rodrigues to provide documentation. During the crime-spree years (2002-8), a number of similar communication radios as well as sophisticated cellular phone intercept and triangulation equipment were seized by the Joint Services.
It was during the meeting with Le Blanc at the Albert Street-based GMR&SC that Rodrigues was shot execution-style on October 15. The wounded Le Blanc fell into a coma on October 25 and died suddenly the next day in the High Dependency Unit of the Georgetown Hospital one day after giving police an oral statement. Prior to that, he had appeared to be making a full recovery.
Preliminary findings of an autopsy, conducted by government pathologist Nehaul Singh, are that Le Blanc died from complications due to a gunshot injury to his buttocks. The autopsy was conducted at the Georgetown Hospital morgue and Crime Chief Seelall Persaud told Stabroek News that samples of the man’s tissues were also taken. Toxicological tests would also have to be done. There is a view that there may have been foul play in Le Blanc’s death and the tissue and toxicological tests are expected to clear this up. Sources said that Le Blanc had grown increasingly fearful for his life while hospitalized.
An official from the Canadian High Commission witnessed the autopsy in the absence of Le Blanc’s family, who were unwilling to travel to Guyana owing to security concerns. The Canadian High Commis-sion has remained tightlipped on information about Le Blanc citing privacy rules.
Sources close to the investigation explain that from intelligence gathered Rodrigues, Le Blanc, his Jamaican bodyguard Hutchinson and another man were all seated at a table at GMR&SC. The men had not long assembled when gunmen stormed the premises and shot Rodrigues. They targeted only Rodrigues and ensured that he was dead.
Reports are that on seeing the armed men Le Blanc and the others dived for cover while Rodrigues uttered an expletive and attempted to grab his semi-automatic pistol from his waist but was unable to use it and was cut down in a fusillade.
The sources said from information gathered, Le Blanc, who is said to have had a colourful past in Canada, had also lived in Jamaica for more than eight years. It was during this time he formed alliances with jailed drug baron Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan and came to know of his close associate Rodrigues. It was also via Jamaica that Le Blanc was contacted by Rodrigues for this recent visit.
The sources say it is interesting that Le Blanc supplied communications equipment here in 2003. That year saw numerous murders and armed robberies carried out by the five escapees from the Camp Street jail. Thereafter, a counter-offensive was launched by Khan and his so-called Phantom Squad and the communication device was used to pinpoint attacks.
Police have since arrested and released a number of persons in connection with the killing of Rodrigues and his bodyguard Marlon ‘Trini‘ Osborne little more than two weeks later. Sources say that given what has been learnt of Le Blanc, the police here could make a request to Ottawa via the High Commission for more information on him and his activities.
Since Rodrigues’ slaying, there has been widespread speculation about the linkage of that incident with the guns found in Lethem and the drugs trade.
Still on the lam in connection with that arms find is Clive Lloyd King. also known as ‘Bora.’ He is said to be a cousin of Rodrigues. Brazilian authorities have been asked to assist in locating him if he is in the neighbouring nation. It is believed that arms smuggled into Lethem from Brazil are being exchanged for cocaine with Colombian FARC guerrillas and it is believed that the recent killings stemmed from a fallout among major players.