By KEN CHEE HING and WENDY CAMPBELL
HEAVILY armed police swooped down at a house in posh Valsayn yesterday morning and arrested a 50-year-old import/export businessman, who officers say is the prime suspect in the 2001 murder of senior Customs officer Carl De Souza.
The businessman is expected to face either a charge of murder or conspiracy to commit murder this weekend. If charged, he will appear before a Tunapuna Magistrate on Monday. The arrest ended a 13-month-long intense investigation by Homicide Bureau detectives Sgts Johnnie Abraham and Hendron Moses.
De Souza, 57, who was the third highest ranking Customs Officer and had control of the Valuations Department in Customs House, was shot dead in the yard of his Auzonville Road, Tunapuna home in 2001.
Yesterday’s arrest came after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Geoffrey Henderson met with ACP (Crime) Oswyn Allard, Ag ACP James Philbert and Supt Nimrod, and perused the De Souza case file.
Henderson later gave certain instructions.
According to police reports, around 7 am yesterday, a team of officers went to a house at North Valsayn where they executed the arrest warrant on the businessman and took him into custody.
The suspect was taken to the Homicide Bureau in Port-of-Spain where he was interrogated. Sgt Moses is expected to lay the charge against the suspect. Homicide detectives were led to the suspect after a man who was among three persons charged with a recent double-murder, gave vital information to lawmen investigating the De Souza killing.
The businessman, sources said, is an importer of fruits and vegetables and owns a businessplace off the Priority Bus Route. During the long months of investigations, detectives from both Northern Division and Homicide Bureau, interviewed dozens of persons as they tried to piece together the circumstances surrounding De Souza’s execution-styled murder, which was the 137th homicide in 2001.
De Souza, a pastor at the Little Flock Tabernacle in Golden Grove Road, Arouca was a father of three. According to police reports, around 8.50 pm on Tuesday December 11, two men went to De Souza’s Auzonville Road, Tunapuna home and spoke to his son Carl Junior, telling him they were interested in clearing a container at the Port-of-Spain Port. De Souza walked out into the yard and as his son was explaining to him what the men wanted, two shots ran out, with De Souza Snr, collapsing to the ground as the men ran off. De Souza later died in his son’s arms.
An autopsy concluded that he died of shock and haemorrhage consistent with a single gunshot wound to the left side of his chest. Police reported that De Souza received several death threats prior to his murder.
Police believe De Souza was marked for death after refusing to bow to the demands of several unscrupulous persons. He also had several matters pending before the courts where he charged businessmen for giving wrong valuations to their imported property, which is contrary to the Customs Act.
Sources said while the businessman will face criminal charges, the case has not been closed, with police still searching for other suspects.
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