Bomb threat trial in court on Wednesday

POSTED: 02/15/16 4:20 PM

St. Maarten News – The Court in First Instance will handle the case of Bryan Andrew R. a 44-year old Trinidadian who stands accused of making a bomb threat against the airport on November 22 of last year. The threat paralyzed airport operations. The court case is scheduled to begin at 3.05 p.m. on Wednesday

The suspect left the island on December 23, but he returned on Christmas Day. Police arrested him upon arrival. He has been in custody ever since.

The full name and even photos of this suspect have been circulated on the internet. They gave reasons to one social media user to note a rather rashly the R. “looks like a Muslim” and that his ties to Islamic State ought to be investigated thoroughly.

The suspect, reportedly a competitor in the airport’s annual Toppix photo contest, was tracked down by investigators of the detective department and the information unit. They worked closely together with telecom providers UTS and TelEm to identify R. The security departments of the airport and KLM/Air France and the Royal Marechaussee were also involved in the investigation.

R.’s bomb threat was the fifth one since December 2014. On December 6, 2014, police received a phone call shortly after 9 a.m. from someone who claimed there was a bomb aboard a KLM plane that was on the tarmac at the airport at the time.

All flights were rerouted to Puerto Rico and hundreds of passengers and staff members were evacuated from the terminal building. No arrest was made in this case and it is unclear whether there is a link between this bomb threat and the one of November 22 of last year.

On January 7, there was a bomb threat in the port, when a female crew member of the Celebrity Reflection joked that she was carrying a bomb when she passed through security to get on board. All activities at the port came to a standstill for an hour, and police searched in vain for explosives. US authorities dealt with the aftermath of this incident.

On July 3, 2015, there was a second bomb threat against the airport, shortly before KLM flight 785 from Curacao was about to land. Again the terminal building was cleared of travelers and staff, flights were rerouted and departures were canceled. No suspect was arrested in connection with this case.

On August 31 there was a bomb threat at the American University in Cupecoy. This time, the treat came in via email, which made it easier for investigators to find the culprit. A student was arrested for it. He spent eight days in custody and was released on September 17.

The bomb threat on November 22, hinted that there were two explosive devices in the vicinity of the airport, most likely at the Pink Iguana. The calls about the threat came in around 12.30 p.m. and the public was informed only one-and-a-half hour later. By that time, security had evacuated the airport and a police team was searching the terminal and other places for bombs. Nothing was found. By 3 p.m. the police gave the all clear and business went back to normal.

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