Businessmen held over illegal Region Nine strip released

The two businessmen who were held for questioning in relation to the discovery of the illegal airstrip and aircraft found earlier this month close to Santa Fe, Region Nine have been released from police custody.

When contacted for an update on the matter, a police source told Stabroek News that the duo was on Tuesday released on bail. However, they are required to report to the police at specified times, to assist with the investigation. The businessmen were arrested separately during last week. One of the men, a contractor of Region Nine was arrested last Monday by ranks of from the Lethem Police station while the other was detained last Thursday.

Several pieces of heavy-duty equipment including a front end loader belonging to the contractor were also impounded. It is suspected that the equipment may have been used in the construction of the airstrip.

The men were flown out from Lethem on Thursday and were taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Eve Leary in Georgetown, where they were questioned.

The police were granted permission by the High Court to further detain the duo after the initial detention period had expired.

The twin-engine Beechcraft that was found on the illegal airstrip in the North Rupununi on August 13.

On August 14, the Guyana Police Force reported the seizure of the twin-engine Beechcraft, which followed almost a month of reports of a foreign aircraft frequenting the Santa Fe, North Rupununi area. The aircraft was flown out of the Rupununi and landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, where it was handed over to the security forces.

According to the police, a quantity of dry rations, medical supplies, gents clothing and footwear, two hand-held radios, flashlights, cellular phones and an identification card were among the items found on the aircraft.

Stabroek News was told that the aircraft was in the process of being sold. Sources had said that the plane, bearing registration number, PR-IMG was linked to Riwa S.A Incorporacoes, Investimentos e Participacoes, a Brazilian company on lease from Banco Bradesco. Bradesco, is one of the biggest banking companies in Brazil.

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