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Police arrest man suspected of building illegal airstrip

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A contractor in Region Nine was today arrested by ranks of the Lethem Police Force in connection with the discovery of an abandoned aircraft on an illegal airstrip in the vicinity of Santa Fe.

Sources said the man, who has been identified as Julian Nelson, was arrested for questioning as it was suspected that he along with others assisted in the construction of the unauthorized runway which was discovered on August 13.

He is still in police custody.

Commander of ‘F’ Division, Ravindradat Budhram had said that the 5,400-foot long, 45-foot wide airstrip discovered on the outskirts of Santa Fe appeared to have undergone recent repairs as it was destroyed by the GDF only a few years ago.

The airstrip is located approximately five miles from another illegal airstrip, which was discovered just a week prior by a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) patrol that was on a reconnaissance mission at the time.

President David Granger earlier today raised concerns over the fact that residents in the area claimed to not have any knowledge about the existence of the activities by the illegal airstrip.

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) during a recent interview with the News Room said it believes that there was some amount of collusion between persons who were seen running from the aircraft after it landed, and residents of surrounding communities.

It was initially discovered that the twin-engine Beechcraft Kingair aircraft was registered to a Brazilian Bank.

Further investigations through the Brazil Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration, found that the aircraft was being transferred to yet another company which has not yet been located.

A GPS was among items found on the plane and the memory of that equipment will help the authorities to move faster in their investigations, since it may have stored areas the aircraft visited before.

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