GEORGETOWN – Murdered Brazilian dredge owner, Antonio Da Saliva allegedly knew of the plot to raid his Akaiwanna, Cuyuni, Region Seven camp three months ago, and even had photographs of five of his would-be attackers.
This is according to sources close to the victim who also claimed that the businessman had even prepared for the attack on his camp but might have been caught off guard.
Kaieteur News understands that two of the attackers and the victim were once neighbours, when the businessman lived in Brazil.
The third suspect is a former employee of the dredge owner, and the fourth is reportedly an “assassin” from Suriname who was hired by his former neighbours. The identity of the fifth suspect is unclear.
According to information received, the five suspects had planned the attack on Da Silva’s camp for a long time. The businessman reportedly found out about the plot three months ago, and had been planning to use his attackers’ game plan against them.
The 36-year-old businessman was so equipped with information of the attack that he managed to get his hands on photographs of the five men who were planning the brazen attack, however, it is unclear what went wrong with his plan.
Persons who are familiar with the details suggested that he might have panicked when his attackers, who were all masked, stormed his camp site and demanded gold.
Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine told journalists yesterday that investigations indicate that Da Silva was in possession of a licensed shot gun and a .32 handgun, but these weapons are now missing.
The gunmen, who reportedly spoke Portuguese, raided the camp between 20:00 hrs on Tuesday and 03:00 hrs on Wednesday.
They reportedly tied up the workers and tortured the businessman for gold, unaware that he had sent out most of it to the city two days prior to the attack.
Determined not to leave empty handed, the gunmen reportedly held Da Silva’s workers at gunpoint and forced them to “wash down” the gold that was on site. This reportedly lasted for some eight hours. As they were leaving the camp, they took the businessman some 500 meters from the site and reportedly tortured him before shooting him multiple times.
Photographs seen by this newspaper showed the businessman’s bloodied body in a ditch with his eyes black and blue and his face swollen.
Kaieteur News was told that after killing Da Silva, his attackers were transported to Venezuela’s border in a blue and white wooden boat. According to information received, one of the suspects was nabbed with gold in Venezuela by a group called the ‘Syndicate’, which is a criminal gang in the Spanish-speaking country.
Reports are that Da Silva had been hiding out in Guyana for the past eight years after murdering his wife in Brazil. Here, he started a new life with a Brazilian woman and fathered two children.
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan said that from information investigators received, Da Silva had some 150 Brazilians working on his claims.
He admitted that law enforcement personnel faced great challenges in patrolling the vast interior.
“That’s another challenge (but) we are getting assets coming from the China government, we need ATVs to get there, or we might need to fly in…we will have challenges as we have huge tracts of land to cover to reach some of these mining concessions; and again, we really can’t put policemen in all the mining concessions, it will be a challenge, we are trying we are doing our best.
This newspaper understands that Da Silva had at least 15 dredges and three crusher plants. He recently purchased a parking lot from the owner of a supermarket in Georgetown.
Given the scope of Da Silva’s business, Ramnarine said, “It is probably safe to assume that he would have had some level of his own security but to the extent of the level of security, I cannot say.”