$10M bounty for jail escapees
Fraser to be buried today
Stabroek News
April 6, 2002

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As the search continues for the five prison fugitives who are believed to have had a hand in the killing of Superintendent Leon Fraser, the Guyana Police Force has increased the bounty for their capture to a whopping $10 million from the initial $2.5 million.

A release from the force yesterday said that the police have intensified their search for the bandits with support from other security services and agencies.

The five, Dale Moore, Mark Fraser, Andrew Douglas, Shawn Brown and Troy Dick escaped from the Camp Street prison on February 23, and are suspected of involvement in the murder of Fraser at the back of Yarowkabra, Soesdyke/Linden Highway on Tuesday afternoon.

Chances of locating the men who attacked Fraser and a police party in the heavily forested area grow slim with every passing day. Despite evidence pointing to the continued habitation of the area by some members of the group, police have had little success in trapping the wanted men, whom they came close to catching when Fraser was shot.

One reason for the difficulty in trapping the men is the terrain of the area, which sources say, consists of creeks, tiny communities, trails and some heavily forested segments.

Other sources point to the conservancy aback of the terrain, which links with the East Demerara conservancy and could be used as a possible escape route. The conservancy also has tributaries which lead in other directions. The sources also pointed to the fact that the men could utilise the cover of darkness to get past police checkpoints and patrols.

A police release said that the force was currently combing the entire area in search of the wanted men who are heavily armed. The force, the release said, has intensified its activities, paying special attention to likely escape routes, with enhanced air and ground support. Persons with information can call 226-8869, 225-3650, 226-1383, 226-0449 or 226-1389. The release said that the information would be treated in the strictest confidence.

A separate release from the police yesterday slammed a news item on the Evening News broadcast on VCT Channel 28 on Thursday. The release said that News Anchor, Tommy Rhodes said "...that the Evening News was informed that late yesterday afternoon about three members of the `Black Clothes Squad' might be under close arrest for the murder of Superintendent Leon Fraser. Attempts were made to verify this information but without success."

The release described the report as "baseless [and] untrue" and that it appeared to be aimed at fuelling further speculation about the circumstances surrounding the death of the fallen officer. It said that such a statement could have a negative effect upon the morale of the ranks involved in the operation.

According to the release, the force is hard pressed to understand why no one from the newscast sought to verify such a story, given its sensitivity.

Meanwhile, the funeral of the late Fraser, who was one of the most feared police officers of his time, is to be held today. His body will be at his Eve Leary home at 11 am and will then be taken to Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara for burial.

The 41-year-old Fraser joined the force on April 24, 1985 and attended the Guyana Defence Force's Standard Military Officer's Course for a year, passing out as a cadet officer in 1988. He was promoted to Assistant Superintendent then Deputy Superintendent and finally Superintendent in 1999. The officer had spent most of his time at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Linden and at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary.