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Package believed thrown from ‘El Amigo Fay’ contains washing soap

Package believed thrown from ‘El Amigo Fay’ contains washing soap

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The package retrieved from the sea, which was believed to have been thrown from the vessel “El Amigo Fay”, during the shoot-out off Union Island on June 3, has been found, by police investigators, to contain washing soap.{{more}}

A usually reliable source told SEARCHLIGHT that when the package, which was retrieved by divers from the sea on June 4, was checked in the presence of some of the Venezuelans who had been aboard the vessel ‘El Amigo Fay’, it was found to contain 20 smaller packages.

When the contents of these smaller packages were tested, SEARCHLIGHT has been informed, they were found to contain washing soap, and not cocaine, as had been suspected.

Four of the nine foreigners who were on the boat “El Amigo Fay” appeared at the Serious Offences Court last Friday, charged with attempted murder and attempted kidnapping of Corporal Rohan DeShong of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.

The captain of the vessel, Degry Mata Vicent, 28, a Venezuelan, in addition to the attempted murder and attempted kidnapping charges, has to answer to two additional charges. He is also charged with failing to notify the Comptroller of Customs of the expected time of arrival of his vessel in St Vincent and the Grenadines on June 3, and failure to transmit the date in accordance with Section 18C of the Customs Act to the Comptroller of Customs.

The other Venezuelan seamen who appeared in court were Deybi Jose Mata Vicent, 22, Heuwerto Rafael Mata Mata, 55 and Darwind Mata Salazar, 27.

The men were not required to plea to the indictible offences. They were denied bail, as their lawyer Stephen Williams did not waste the court’s time in making a bail application, because of the nature of the offences and the nationality of the persons charged.

They have been remanded in custody and will return to court on October 31, when the Preliminary Inquiry into the charges laid before them will begin.

On June 4, the package in question was retrieved off the coast of Union Island by divers from the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard and the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) in an area where a shoot-out between local police and the Venezuelan men, took place on the boat “El Amigo Fay”.

The package, when discovered, was said to have been tied to an anchor, and is believed to have been thrown overboard by the men from the fishing trawler, which flew a Venezuelan flag.

On June 3, at around 6:00 p.m., after observing suspicious activity, Customs Guard Othneil Whyte and Rapid Response Unit Officer Corporal DeShong boarded El Amigo Fay, which was anchored some distance from the Clifton dock at Union Island.

Information reaching SEARCHLIGHT is that Whyte pointed out the suspicious package to Corporal DeShong, at which point one of the men on the vessel, who was armed with a weapon, opened fire on the public servants, while the vessel proceeded to head out to sea.

At this point, the police officer is said to have returned fire, striking the gunman, and other men who had attacked him.

At some point during the firefight, reports are that the package was thrown overboard.

When the gun smoke cleared, three of the nine foreigners were dead and one was injured.

Whyte, a customs guard for two decades, was unaccounted for. He was found floating in the sea a few hours after, and was declared dead at the Union Island Health Centre.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, accompanied by top security and government officials, visited Union Island on June 4, and indicated that a Coroner’s Inquest into the matter would take place.

The Venezuelan Embassy confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that the three Venezuelans who were killed in the incident were David Jose Mata Mata, Natividad de Jesus Mata Mata and Alfonso Yesid Pallares Medina.

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