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Trinidad: Abandoned home of Sandman suspect’s relative torched


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Police officers at the home of Vaughn “Sandman” Mieres in Las Cuevas on Thursday, hours after Mieres, his wife and two guards were slain.

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — A house that was left aban­doned six weeks ago in Las Cuevas, close to where Vaughn “Sand­man” Mieres, 44, lived and was killed last Thurs­day, along with his wife and two body­guards, was burnt flat on Sat­ur­day.

How­ev­er, whilst fire of­fi­cials are not yet rul­ing out ar­son, po­lice said they be­lieve the fire was not di­rect­ly linked to Mieres’ mur­der.

The po­lice, how­ev­er, added that the house be­longed to rel­a­tives of a man who is re­lat­ed to the main sus­pect in Mieres’ case. That sus­pect is still in po­lice cus­tody.

Vaughn Mieres

Po­lice said San Juan fire­fight­ers re­spond­ed to a house fire call at Ho­tel Road, St Michael’s Vil­lage, Las Cuevas at about 7 am yes­ter­day. How­ev­er, by the time the fire ap­pli­ances got there the house was al­ready de­stroyed.

The last per­sons to oc­cu­py the house were a man and a woman who left the area ap­prox­i­mate­ly six weeks ago. The rea­sons as to why they left were not known, as was whether they were the own­ers of the house.

A fire of­fi­cial said they found on­ly a stove and a mi­crowave in the house and added that both ac­cess doors were opened when they ar­rived. He said there was no sus­pect­ed cause as yet.

Gang war over sea turf was one of the mo­tives be­lieved to be be­hind Thurs­day’s killings of Mieres, his wife Ali­ka “Let­ty” De­here and two oth­ers at his Las Cuevas home. Mieres lived in a split-lev­el house on a hill over­look­ing the coastal wa­ters of the north coast and Las Cuevas bay. Guardian Me­dia was told by vil­lagers that 15 gun­men in to­tal am­bushed Mieres, his fam­i­ly and guards around 2.15 am. The gun­men, vil­lagers said, sur­round­ed the house and there were 30 min­utes of con­tin­ued gun­fire from high-pow­ered ri­fles.

Mieres, 44, was known to the po­lice for drugs and gun smug­gling along the north coast and car­ried out op­er­a­tions in sev­er­al ar­eas, in­clud­ing La Fil­lette, Mal­ick, Bourg Mu­la­tresse, San Juan, San­ta Cruz, Barataria, Las Cuevas, Mar­aval and Val­ley Road. He al­so had as­so­ciates in Beetham and Port-of-Spain.

An­oth­er the­o­ry is that the killings were linked to an in­ci­dent in June, where there was an at­tempt on the lives of two of Mieres’ chil­dren.

Po­lice said they re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that Mieres found out who was the mas­ter­mind in­volved in that at­tack and was plan­ning an act of “dead­ly re­venge.”

On June 12, gun­men opened fire on a ve­hi­cle trans­port­ing two of Mieres’ chil­dren along Bel­mont Cir­cu­lar Road, near the Prov­i­dence Girls’ Catholic School, a short dis­tance away from the Bel­mont Po­lice Sta­tion. The dri­ver of the van, James Gor­don, of Mara­cas, was shot but man­aged to es­cape by run­ning away. Three stu­dents were treat­ed for in­juries and men­tal trau­ma af­ter the dri­ve-by shoot­ing. Two of the in­jured chil­dren, aged six and 15, were iden­ti­fied as Mieres’ chil­dren while an 18-year-old stu­dent was shot in her leg.

But a close as­so­ciate of Mieres, who was lim­ing on the block near Mieres’ house on Thurs­day, said a man stood on the cor­ner and watched every­thing. He even called two names, one of whom is in po­lice cus­tody. The per­son in cus­tody, the as­so­ciate said, left Mieres’ side about five years ago fol­low­ing an ar­gu­ment.

“Do not bite the hands that feed you and that’s what he did…he came back with an­oth­er man we know and some peo­ple from some­where on that side be­cause they want to come here and take over his boats…why would Sand­man be linked to the theft of boats and en­gines in Or­ange Val­ley. He not on them thing. He have lots of boats right here…but is sea turf now them fel­las fight­ing for,” the as­so­ciate claimed.

“They said he was in­volved in drugs and guns but I nev­er see that. Just re­cent­ly I went across to To­ba­go with him with 2,500 pounds of fish and that’s what he did. He was a fish­er­man and fish ven­dor.”

The ac­quain­tance would on­ly say that Mieres de­cid­ed to change his life about five years ago.

“You see when you de­cide to change your life there’s al­ways an un­guard­ed mo­ment and there it was the un­guard­ed mo­ment. We had no guns to fight back be­cause we are now peace­ful peo­ple. Sand­man kept the peace here for years and he was every­body’s God­fa­ther.”

The as­so­ciate said Mieres was ac­cused of be­ing be­hind the Ju­ly 19 dri­ve-by shoot­ing in Mar­aval where Ian Sharpe and Keon Tim­o­thy were killed while lim­ing near a bas­ket­ball court along Morne Co­co Road.

“They say that Mar­aval was linked to the Bel­mont shoot­ing where his kids es­caped and that he was the one be­hind the dri­ve-by. That same night po­lice took Sand­man in cus­tody and then re­leased him and then come back two days af­ter for him but then they let him go again. He was peace­ful. He trou­bled no one. In fact, he had for­got­ten about that shoot­ing and had put it be­hind him,” the as­so­ciate said.

Fish­er­men at the fish­ing de­pot, when ap­proached by Guardian Me­dia, re­mained very tight-lipped about Thurs­day’s in­ci­dent.

One of them said: “We mind our own busi­ness around here…we see noth­ing and hear noth­ing.”

An­oth­er fish­er­man said most of the fish bins be­longed to Mieres but he too would not say much.

The fish­er­man, how­ev­er, lament­ed over the derelict con­di­tion of the fa­cil­i­ties for over 40 years.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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