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Two charged in connection with illegal aircraft, airstrip

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Following weeks of investigation by the joint services, two men were today charged in connection with the discovery of an abandoned aircraft on an illegal airstrip in the vicinity of Santa Fe.

Wazim King, a 37-year-old driver and Nathan Hamilton, 21-year-old excavator operator, both of Lethem, appeared before City Magistrate Judy Latchman jointly charged with conspiracy.

It is alleged that between August 10 and August 13, 2017 at Santa Fe, Rupununi, Region 9, they conspired with Hutshan Ramsingh known as Ceon Singh to facilitate the illegal landing of an aircraft suspected to be involved in the trafficking of narcotics and firearm smuggling at an illegal port of entry.

The men were not required to plead to the charge and were remanded to prison until September 18th. King was represented by Attorney Michael Somersault, while Attorney Jerome Khan represented Hamilton.

The lawyers argued that their clients had no knowledge that the airstrip or airplane was illegal since they were recently hired by Ramsingh to build the road. Police Prosecutor, Vishnu Hunt opposed to the duo being released on bail based on the seriousness and nature of the charge.

Hunt further pointed out that the two accused had given a statement to the police implicating their involvement and knowledge that it was an illegal airstrip and they were a part of the construction where an aircraft was left abandoned.

According to Hunt, investigations into the matter are still ongoing and more persons are expected to be arrested and charged.  Additionally, the businessman Ramsingh is yet to be arrested by the police.

The men are expected to appear before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan on September 18th.

According to reports, on August 13, Police ranks went to the area and conducted a search during which over a dozen 10-gallon jars were found hidden in the bushes. As the team was leaving the area, it observed an aircraft circling and the ranks decided to return to the location.

While there, they saw three men running from the landed aircraft. While the men escaped, the aircraft was secured by the Police. A search was conducted and police discovered a quantity of dry ration, medical supplies, gents clothing and footwear, two hand-held radios, flashlights, cellular phones and an identification card among other items.

Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine had recently disclosed that two passports which discovered in the aircraft belong to a Brazilian and a Colombian and are suspected to be the property of the two persons who were seen fleeing the area.

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