Gang leader nabbed …as police break up piracy network

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Alleged piracy mastermind, Premnauth Persaud called “Sanbad”

…several witnesses from Suriname expected as probe deepens

A MAN suspected to be the head of a piracy gang which carried out the gruesome April 27 piracy attack in Suriname waters that left around 16 dead was arrested by the police in Berbice on Tuesday and authorities believe they have dealt a significant blow to the criminal network as several others have already been arrested and charged.

Identified as Premnauth Persaud called “Sanbad”, “Sinbad” and “Boy”, the alleged suspect was captured by the police on Tuesday at Number 68 Village, East Berbice Corentyne.
His arrest is seen as a major breakthrough for local law enforcement as he was being sought on both sides of the border since the attack. Persaud, who is said to be the ‘Captain’ of the gang of pirates that carried out the gruesome attack on the five fishing vessels with a combined 25-member crew, was captured by the Police in ‘B’ Division and handed over to the Major Crimes Unit, mere days after the Guyana Chronicle broke the news that he had returned to Guyana following the attacks and was hiding out.

According to a source, Persaud is believed to have travelled back to Guyana on the ‘Cristina-1 SK-1221’ shortly after the attack on the fishermen. The Guyana Chronicle understands that the man and others with him allegedly took fisherman Gowkarran Outar called ‘Gavin’ as a hostage when they boarded the Cristina-1 on their journey back to Guyana. As they neared their destination, it is alleged that they killed Outar and threw his body overboard. The body of the fisherman was discovered at Number 63 Beach on May 10.

Investigators have revealed that Persaud is presently being grilled extensively by sleuths in the city, also that arrangements are being made for survivors and other witnesses to travel from neighbouring Suriname to Guyana to give their statements, as charges are expected soon.

Meanwhile, Persaud’s arrest comes on the heels of another man 19-year-old Alexander Denhart, who was charged this week for the murder of one of the fishermen. Denhart is the second person to have been charged with the murder of Tillaknauth Mohabir called “Caiman”. The other is the alleged mastermind Nakool Manohar called ‘Fyah’.

Manohar is the brother of Somnauth Manohar, an alleged pirate leader who was killed in a drive-by shooting on the 30th March this year, in Suriname. Fishermen had disclosed that on the day of the man’s funeral, his relatives had pledged revenge for his death.

Following the attacks, members of his immediate family were arrested including his son who remains in custody in Suriname. He, along with “Crackhead”, “Bolo” and others remain in custody in Suriname after having allegedly confessed to the authorities their “direct and indirect involvement in the commission of the crimes” according to a police press conference held on May 30th in the neighbouring country. “Crackhead”, “Bolo”, “Dick” and “Sinbad” were positively identified by survivors as being those who were part of a gang of approximately eight -10 men that carried out the attack. It is unclear if “Dick” is in police custody or is still being sought by authorities.

The Guyana Chronicle understands that the remains of Tilaknauth Mohabir, one of the three bodies that were positively identified of the four found, was handed over to relatives and was laid to rest in neighbouring Suriname on Wednesday. The other bodies identified were those of Mahesh Sarjoo called “Cooba” and Gowkarran Outar called “Gavin.” One other body is in the custody of the Suriname authorities awaiting DNA results for identification.

Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle, family members of the victims have expressed satisfaction on the progress made thus far by the police, and are hoping that the men get the full punishment of the law so that they can get some level of closure despite not having the bodies of their relatives. Investigations are ongoing.