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Israeli held in Arouca forest charged

The Israeli national arrested by officers of the Arouca Police Station on Friday in a forested area, has been charged with larceny of a Trinidad and Tobago immigration stamp. The 26-year-old man, Vatang Agrunov of Tel Aviv, Israel, arrived in the country on October 17 and was due to leave on November 31. Police sources revealed that Agrunov, who is fluent in five languages speaks very little English. He told police investigators through an interpretor on Saturday, that he has been travelling all over the world as a hobby, and his last trip was made to Venezuela. While in Venezuela, he heard of Trinidad and decided to visit this country.

The soft spoken Agrunov said that on his arrival in Trinidad, he went to Port-of-Spain where he met a man. Agrunov claimed that the man invited him to Spring Trace, Arouca, where he began staying. Each day he would visit several areas in the country and scoffed at suggestions that he was involved in any illicit activities. He claimed that he had not over stayed his time in Trinidad and had also planned to visit Tobago. The man was able to prove via his passport that he arrived in Trinidad legally. A search by Interpol officers revealed that the man has no previous convictions in his country. The couple who were detained alongside the Israeli man were released yesterday pending further inquiries.

The charge was laid by Cpl Leroy Baptiste yesterday and Agrunov will appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate. His matter will be adjourned to the Tunapuna Magistrate’s Court. When the Israeli was arrested on Friday he was quizzed by officers of the Special Anti-Crime Unit and the Special Intelligence Unit. The man distanced himself from any illicit activities. He expressed shock and concern that he was being looked upon as a suspect in the four recent bombings in the country. Senior officers confirmed yesterday that the man is no longer being treated as a suspect in any terrorist activities.

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