Foreign nationals in unmarked plane jailed for two years, fined $11M

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Two foreign nationals who were arrested after an unmarked aircraft landed at an airstrip in Mahdia (Potaro-Siparuni) were on Friday slapped with several additional charges. 

The men, 32-year-old Juan David Caicedo Villa, a pilot, of Villavicencio, Colombia, and 48-year-old Gustavo Adolfo Riascos Gomez, a pilot/businessman, of Tachira San Cristobal, Venezuela appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. 

The duo pleaded guilty to the charges which alleged that on November 4, 2021, at Mahdia airstrip, they interfered with the registration and identification marks of the aircraft, operated a civil aircraft without a certificate and insurance, and operated the aircraft recklessly.

The men were sentenced to two years imprisonment for operating the aircraft without a certificate. For the other charges, they were sentenced to pay a fine totalling $11M or in default three years imprisonment. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently by the Chief Magistrate.

Last Tuesday, the men made their first court appearance before the Chief Magistrate and were slapped with two charges. 

The charge against the men stated that on November 4, they entered Guyana illegally. They were also charged with having two grammes of marijuana in their possession. They denied both charges after they were read to them and were remanded to prison. 

According to a Police release, the discovery of the six-seater red and white aircraft was made at around 18:00hrs on the day in question. Police ranks of Mahdia Police Station observed the aircraft circling the Mahdia airstrip in an attempt to land and immediately went there.

On arrival there five minutes later, the ranks saw the Piper Aire aircraft on the ground in front of the Trans Guyana hanger. The two foreign nationals were seen standing in front of the aircraft talking to the security guard and a ramp attendant.

When confronted by the Policemen, one of the men, said, “We are lost. We came from Venezuela and going to look for gold”. A search was conducted on the men and the plane but nothing illegal was found.  The aircraft contained three 15 gallon drums – two of which contained fuel.

The other items found on the aircraft include a hammock with a net, a bag containing clothing and personal effects, identifications cards, a Garmin GPS, an Iridium Phone, one Icom radio set, one spot trace device, two phone chargers, one earpiece, one lighter, one torchlight, one Motorola phone, a Samsung phone, one knife, two wristwatches, a wallet, two grammes of cannabis and bamboo wrap.

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