Army nabs three in pick-up with arms
Cellphone tracking equipment found
Three houses raided
By Kim Lucas and Andre Haynes
December 6, 2002
Three men were arrested late Wednesday night after a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) patrol intercepted a vehicle at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara with a large cache of arms and ammunition.
The army also found in the blue Ford open-back pick-up, a police identification card but up to late yesterday the police were not in a position to confirm or deny whether one of the three was a member of the force.
Stabroek News understands that a laptop computer, capable of intercepting cellular calls and a plan of the city, were among other items discovered.
Law enforcement officials said yesterday that the find prompted a meeting of high-level officials, including GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Michael Atherly and Police Commissioner Winston Felix.
According to a release from the Joint Services yesterday, the army patrol "observed and apprehended a suspicious looking vehicle within the Good Hope Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara at [about] [10:45 p.m.]. The three occupants of the vehicle GHH 7539 were questioned and based on the answers given, the vehicle was searched and a quantity of arms, ammunition and other items were found."
Stabroek News confirmed that apart from the computer, the army patrol also found in the vehicle, at least two M16 assault rifles fitted with telescopic lenses, two Glock pistols and other hand guns, as well as two bulletproof vests, a 12-gauge pump rifle, an Uzi submachine gun, two camouflage caps and two helmets and a large quantity of varying calibre ammunition.
A check yesterday revealed that the vehicle is registered to Dreamworks Development Incorporated of 83 Garnette Street, Georgetown. But this newspaper was unable to locate such a company at the stated address yesterday.
Sources say up to two weeks ago, the same vehicle was painted in white. It is now blue and fitted with half-inch thick bulletproof windows. The release further stated that the three men arrested - a 30-year-old of D'Aguiar Park; a 29-year-old and the man with the police identification card, both of Good Hope - are "suspected to be involved in nefarious criminal activity". Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine told Stabroek News yesterday that he was not aware of any policeman being implicated.
Stabroek News was able to secure a list of the items found in the vehicle and among them was one police identification card issued in the name of one of the arrested men.
Reports state that the men were taken first to the army's headquarters, Base Camp Ayanganna, from where GDF officials called the police. Following the arrests, the police conducted a series of searches at houses in the Georgetown area and a number of persons were detained, the joint services said.
As part of what police described as an intensified operation, heavily armed ranks yesterday raided three houses in the Campbellville area, as well as another in D'Aguiar Park, which law enforcement sources linked to a prominent businessman.
At least one person was taken into custody as the raids were carried out at homes in Craig, Garnette and Dadanawa Streets, where police searched for various items.
The first raid was conducted sometime around 8 am when a police convoy of three vehicles, descended upon a house at Lot 44 Craig Street. One occupant of the home told Stabroek News that the police informed them that they had come in search of "guns and drugs". She said they proceeded to search, but came up empty-handed.
Police did, however, take her 20-year-old daughter into custody and up to press time, it had not been verified whether the young woman was released.
Another occupant of the home, upset at the activity, maintained that nothing was found during the exercise which she described as embarrassing.
Police also conducted a similar exercise for nearly two hours at a home at 29 Dadanawa Street, Section K, Campbellville. Heavily armed police ranks cordoned off that area, while other ranks searched the home as some of its occupants looked on. When the exercise was completed sometime around 1:30 pm, it was unclear whether any of the occupants of the home were taken into custody. Some items were removed from that house.
Another house is also said to have been raided in Garnette Street, however Stabroek News was unable to verify if anything was found or if anyone had been taken into custody.
Ramnarine said yesterday that the raids were part and parcel of an intensified police operation. It is believed that the recent find might answer some questions about the recently labelled phantom gang which has been "taking out" specific individuals.