Lethem man wanted over illegal plane, airstrip surrenders

-fears for life, lawyer says

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

A Lethem contractor, wanted by police in connection with the discovery of an illegal aircraft and airstrip near Santa Fe, in Region Nine in August, has surrendered to the police after months on the run and his lawyer said he acted out of fear for his life.

Public Relations Officer of the Guyana Police Force Jairam Ramlakhan yesterday confirmed that the suspect was taken into custody yesterday morning by a team of police officers led by a senior rank, who had travelled to Lethem two days ago to receive him.

The suspect has been identified as Huta Shan Ram Singh, also known as ‘Seon Singh,’ a businessman of Tabatinga, Lethem.

“A prime suspect who had allegedly fled the jurisdiction shortly after he was being sought for questioning in relation to an illegal aircraft which was left abandoned at Santa Fe, North Rupununi, Region 9, is now in police custody, having been handed over in the presence of his attorney,” a statement released yesterday by Ramlakhan said.

Singh was taken into custody on August 24. He was flown from Lethem to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Eve Leary, Georgetown for questioning but was released on $50,000 bail after being held for nearly a week without charge.

His attorney, Jerome Khan, yesterday told Stabroek News that Singh surrendered to the police out of fear for his life. “…He returned and contacted me to represent him and I contacted the police, who I handed him over to this morning (yesterday) at the Lethem Police Station,” Khan confirmed.

Khan said that Singh fled the jurisdiction after he was fearful for his life following his release from the police. “There were instances when heavily armed men jumped his yard looking for him and his wife alone was home… so, he decide to come back and turn himself over to the police,” Khan explained.

Thus far, Khan said Singh has not provided the police with a confession statement. “He denied the allegation put to him that he conspired with others to facilitate the landing of an aircraft,” Khan said.

He related that Singh told the police that he is a businessman who owns machinery, such as a truck and Bobcat and he was hired to remove some gravel. As a result, he [Singh] hired two men to conduct the exercise but he never visited the scene,” Khan noted.

On September 15, the two men who Singh reportedly hired—Wasim King, 37, of 222 Kumaka Drive, Lethem and Nathan Hamilton, 21, of 107 Beverly Hills, Drive, Lethem—were charged with allegedly helping to build the recently discovered illegal airstrip in the North Rupununi, for the landing of an aircraft suspected to have been used to traffic drugs and guns.

They were accused of conspiring with Singh to facilitate the illegal landing of an aircraft, suspected to be involved in the trafficking of narcotics and firearms in an unauthorised port of entry between August 10 and August 13, in the North Rupununi.

They were not required to plead to the indictable charge. They were remanded to prison and the matter is currently engaging the court.

Hamilton is also being represented by Khan.

Acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine had previously said that a total of six persons, including a woman and a Region Nine contractor were arrested as part of the investigation but the police were only advised to charge King and Hamilton. The others, including Singh, were released on bail.

Several pieces of heavy-duty equipment, including a front end loader belonging to the contractor, were also impounded.

On August 14, the Guyana Police Force had reported the seizure of the twin-engine Beechcraft, which had followed almost a month of reports of a foreign aircraft frequenting the Santa Fe, North Rupununi area.

The police had said that 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.

Sources had said that the plane, bearing registration number, PR-IMG was leased to Riwa S.A Incorporacoes, Investimentose Participacoes, a Brazilian company, by Banco Bradesco. Bradesco, is one of the biggest banking companies in Brazil.

 

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