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Updated: Brazilian helicopter pilot, gold miner arrested; aircraft, gun, ammo seized

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 February 2023, 23:26 by Denis Chabrol

The Robinson 44 helicopter that police said landed illegally in the New River Triangle near the Guyana-Brazil border. (Picture from Mervyn Williams’ Facebook)

A Brazilian helicopter, associated with an illegal gold mining camp in Guyana’s New River Triangle, has been impounded and the pilot and a gold miner have been arrested, the Guyana Police Force said late Tuesday night.

Police said a grey Robinson 44 helicopter, which bears registration marking PTY-MBI, was flown to Aishalton airstrip . The Brazilian pilot, Alexander Felix, 54, a licensed pilot of Rua Pariba 45 Ap 103, São Paulo, Brazil is also in custody at Aishalton Police Station, investigators said.

According to police, several other men believed to be Brazilians, ran away when a Joint Services team arrived at the illegal mining camps that were spotted during aerial surveillance at about 4 PM Sunday at an area in South Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo)

Police said the Joint Services team searched the two mining camps and found one brown and gold 12 gauge shotgun, ten 16- gauge cartridges, forty 12-gauge cartridges and three empty cartridge shells. Also found were nine cellular phones and several documents.

The gold miner’s name has been given as 29-year old Luan Ricardo Braoa Silva  of Belem De Para Brazil was arrested.

After the gold mining camps were discovered, police said at about 3:30 PM Monday, the helicopter landed at that site, but nothing illegaol has been found. “Searches were carried out on his person and the helicopter but nothing illegal was found, except for food supplies and gas.

Aviation Minister Juan Edghill on Tuesday afternoon said the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority’s (GCAA) inspector, who flew to the location on Tuesday, was expected to ascertain where the helicopter is from and to whom it is registered.

In recent years, several illegal aircraft had been discovered in Guyana’s interior especially in Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) and Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and law enforcement agents had concluded that a number of them had been involved in cocaine trafficking.