Brazilians charged over Lethem robbery

-14 year-old among four on gun, ammo charges

Albertino Filho

A total of eight Brazilian nationals, including a 14-year-old girl, who were arrested after an armed robbery at Lethem on Tuesday, were yesterday all remanded after being read multiple charges.

With the aid of a Portuguese translator, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan read armed robbery charges to Elton Doarte, 30, Gabriel De Pinha, 25 and Luenderson Mangabeira at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

The charge stated that on January 23rd, at Barrack Retreat Road, Lethem, Central Rupununi, while armed with a gun, the three men robbed Maxine Buckley of a quantity of wrist watches, phones, gold jewellery, cosmetic jewellery, headsets and cash, all having a total value of $3,800,019. The stolen items were the property of Dwayne Grant.

A not guilty plea was entered by the three men.

Both Doarte and De Pinha were represented by attorney Jerome Khan, who stated that they went to Lethem to shop. He maintained that on the day of the robbery, his clients were neither at the scene of the crime nor were they arrested there.

Khan further stated that there is video footage of the robbery and while the robbers appear to resemble his clients, the footage is unclear.

His clients, he stated, went to a friend’s home in Lethem after shopping and were not found with any of the stolen items or the weapon used in the attack.

Although Khan requested that his clients be granted reasonable bail, Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield, however, objected, while saying that the men were flight risks.

Subsequently the three men were remanded to prison and the proceedings were adjourned until February 6th, when a hearing is slated for the Lethem Magistrate’s Court.

Meanwhile, Chief Magistrate McLennan later read firearm and ammunition possession charges to Jardiel Da Silva, Elinaldo Da Silva, Anna Pereira and a 14-year old girl, who are also Brazilian nationals.

It was alleged that on January 23rd, at Tabitanga, in Lethem, they had a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver in their possession, without being the holders of firearm licences.

It was also alleged that on the same date and at the same location the defendants had 40 rounds of live ammunition without being licensed firearm holders. Additionally, they were charged with the possession of two live 9mm rounds.

Each defendant pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

Chief Magistrate McLennan remanded the three adults to prison, while the 14-year-old was remanded to the juvenile holding centre.

Their next hearing is slated for the Lethem Magistrate’s Court on February 7th.

‘Sentencing him to death’

Meanwhile, Albertino Filho, 51, who was also arrested in the aftermath of the robbery, was also charged over the alleged possession of 102.5 grammes of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.

Mansfield objected to Filho being granted bail. He noted that the accused was observed by ranks on patrol placing a transparent parcel in the front left side door of the pickup he was getting into.

When the vehicle was later searched, leaves seeds and stems, suspected to be cannabis, were found.

Filho was represented by Khan, who told the court that his client presently receives dialysis treatment and “sending him to prison is like sentencing him to death,” since he may not get proper medical attention. Khan urged the court to grant his client reasonable bail.

Chief Magistrate McLennan denied the bail application for the defendant and remanded him to prison as well.

His case will be called again on February 6th at the Lethem Magistrate’s Court.

Buckley, the co-proprietor of the store that was robbed, Dwayne’s Cell Phone and Jewellery Shop, told Stabroek News that three men, posing as customers, entered the shop sometime around 3 pm on Tuesday. “When they came in they looked like normal customers. They had on caps… but when I see one of them pull out his gun and they tell me to lie down on the floor, I realised was a robbery,” she recalled.

Buckley went on to explain that while she was instructed to lie on the floor, she grabbed her three-year-old son and sat quietly in a corner of the shop.

She further said that as two men collected the valuables from the shop, the other left and went over to the restaurant next door. During that time, the two other bandits demanded she hand over the car keys to her husband’s car, which was parked in front of the store.

The woman said she complied and handed over the keys. “When they jump in the car, the one from the restaurant run out and jumped in the car. I don’t know what happen, if they don’t know to drive or what but when they go to drive off, the car crashed into the wall…,” Buckley recounted. She added that two of the men jumped out and ran into the restaurant next door, while the other fled in another direction.

“I took off the scotch tape and loose off the rope and started to scream and the workers from the restaurant came out and began to lock up the restaurant with the two men inside. They didn’t know the men were inside but they keep it lock till police came and arrested them,” she explained.

After the attack, the police had said that three were arrested in the wake of the business.

“Three of them were arrested after the robbery and… on Tuesday night, acting on information received, the police went to a house at Tabatinga and arrested four others where a firearm and some rounds were recovered and additional information led us to a vehicle that was used to commit the crime and in which the other two persons (suspects) were inside,” Commander of ‘F’ Division Ravindradat Budhram had told Stabroek News.

Police had also said that when ranks descended on the house at Tabatinga, Lethem, they were forced to seek cover since several rounds were fired at them. “The area was cordoned and the lawmen using their tactical training subsequently gained entry into the building and arrested four persons inclusive of two females who are Brazilian nationals,” the police had also said, while noting that a revolver as well as two sets of ammunition were found in the house. However, no charge was laid against any of the Brazilian nationals for discharging rounds at the police.

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