Surveillance by the police over the last four weeks led to the discovery of an illegal aircraft and airstrip in the Santa Fe Area, North Rupununi, Region 9 on Sunday, August 13.
According to a statement from the police force, a party of policemen under the command of a Senior Officer, proceeded to the area where checks of that area led to the discovery of over a dozen ten-gallon jars in the bushes. The party also observed that a long strip of land had been cleared.
The statement noted that as the party was leaving, they observed an aircraft circling some distance away and on returning to the cleared area, they saw three men running from the aircraft which by then had landed. It was noted that reinforcement from the Guyana Defence Force and another party of policemen led by the Commander of ‘F’ Division, Senior Superintendent Ravindradat Budhram, departed Lethem about mid-night last night and arrived at the location about 02:00hrs, where on checking the aircraft, a quantity of dry ration, medical supplies, gents clothing and footwear, two hand-held radios, flashlights, cellular phones and an identification card amongst other items were found in the aircraft.
According to the statement, the cleared area where the aircraft landed is over one mile long and about fifty feet wide and appears to have been recently graded. The Civil Aviation Authority has been notified and arrangements are being operationalized for a multi-agency team to be flown to that area to conduct further investigations.
On August 5, an illegal airstrip, a chainsaw and a few fuel drums were discovered in the hinterland by the Guyana Defence Force during a patrol. According to a statement from the GDF, ranks were conducting a reconnaissance mission five kilometers west of Santa Fe just outside of Lethem when they made the discovery. Several dug out trenches were also discovered at the location as well as 12 abandoned camps, an axe and a quarter drum of aviation fuel.