Serial 1748

United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Memorandum
Date: 1/19/79
To: Mr. Herndon
From: F.D. Silas, Jr.

Subject: RYMUR

PURPOSE: To set out the activities of Special Agent (SA) [name withheld] Firearms-Toolmarks Unit, while on special assignment in Guyana, South America.

SYNOPSIS:

SA [name withheld] and three other Agents from the Laboratory arrived in Georgetown, Guyana, during the early morning hours of 12/1/78. SA [name withheld]’s duties in Guyana from 12/2 to 12/5 and 12/7 to 12/11 were carried out at the Guyana Police Headquarters forensic science building and consisted mainly of conducting examinations of recovered firearms evidence. On 12/6/78, SA [name withheld] with the other Agents conducted searches and inspections of the Port Kaituma airstrip and Jonestown. SA [name withheld]’s duties from 12/12/78 to 12/15/78 were spent at the U.S. Consulate.

RECOMMENDATION:

None. For information only.

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Memorandum to Mr. Herndon
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DETAILS:

On 11/30/78, SAs [names withheld] of the Laboratory Division and SA [name withheld] of the Technical Services Division departed FBIHQ for Georgetown, Guyana, South America, for the purpose of providing technical support to the Guyana Police Department and to develop any available information relative to the Bureau’s investigation of the assassination of Congressman Ryan through the examination of items recovered at Jonestown, Guyana, and the Kaituma airstrip, Port Kaituma, Guyana.

Upon arrival at Georgetown and after establishing quarters SA [name withheld] was introduced to Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Eustace V. Kendall who was assigned to the firearms-toolmark identification unit of the forensic science branch of the Guyana Police Department. Mr. Kendall was presently equipped with two rooms which included a water recovery tank (verticle), an American Optical comparison microscope and a Bausch and Lomb stereozoom microscope. Because of fungus on the lens which could not be cleaned off, only the left side of the comparison microscope and the right side of the stereozoom microscope were optically clear.

After cleaning and repairing the equipment as well as could be done, Detective Inspector Jag Mohan delivered the ammunition components which had been recovered at the Kaituma airstrip and three revolvers recovered from Jonestown survivors. From 12/2 to 12/5 SA [name withheld] examined and made comparisons of these specimens at the police headquarters forensic building.

On 12/5/78, the remaining 32 firearms recovered at Jonestown were picked up from the custody of the police armory by Assistant Superintendent Kendall and SA [name withheld] who then returned to the forensic building where preliminary examination and test firing of these firearms began. Mr. Kendall did not assist in any of these firearms identification examinations including the test firing of the weapons except to observe and provide any tools and other equipment as needed, if available.

On 12/6/78, SAs [names withheld] along with Assistant Police Commissioner C.A. Roberts, Doctor Leslie Mootoo (Pathologist) and Detective Assistant Superintendent Alvin Smith traveled to Port Kaituma via

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Memorandum to Mr. Herndon
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89-4286

U.S. Army helicopter and conducted a crime scene search of the airstrip utilizing the standard “sweep technique.” The primary objective of this search was to recover any fired shotshell casings as none had been recovered to date and shotguns were reportedly used in the killings. This search did recover additional ammunition components consisting of two bullet jackets, a lead core, several cartridge cases and two shotshell wads, but no shotshell casings. Mr. Roberts was then requested to ask the natives if they had or knew of anyone who had picked up any of these items as a souvenir, but none of those present admitted to any knowledge of the removal of anything.

SA [name withheld] then examined the Guyana Airways, Dehavilland, Twin Otter aircraft for damage and any remaining ammunition components. SA [name withheld] photographed all bullet and/or shot damage to that aircraft. No additional evidence was recovered although at least one bullet was left inside the door. The mechanics of the Guyana Airways were going to recover this bullet when the door was repaired, but SA [name withheld] did not receive it while in Guyana.

Upon completion of the search and examination of the aircraft the group then went to Jonestown. A “C” ration lunch was provided at Jonestown by the helicopter crew and inspection of the town followed.

The principle [principal] purpose for the visit to Jonestown was to look for any evidence of a conspiracy to harm any additional officials in reprisal to the Jonestown deaths and/or any other evidence which would assist the Bureau in its investigation. Because the Pathologist stated that Jones had been shot through the head, SA [name withheld] searched the wooden supports and beams of the pavilion where the majority of the bodies were found. No bullet holes were noted.

Upon completing the examination of the pavilion the group moved to Jones’ residence to review the remaining documents. Upon completion of this task a general tour and observation of Jonestown was taken before return to Georgetown. While in Jonestown the Bureau team was under very close observation by armed members of the Guyana Defense Force.

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Memorandum to Mr. Herndon
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89-4286

From 12/7 through 12/11 SA [name withheld] worked at completing the firearms identification examinations at the forensic science building of Police Headquarters at Georgetown. These examinations, including those afforded the additional evidence recovered at the Port Kaituma airstrip were completed on 12/11/78. SA [name withheld] took several sets of photographs of the identifications that were effected on the comparison microscope, but was dependent upon the Guyanese for the development of the film. In each instance no photographs were developed for a variety of reasons.

On 12/12/78 SA [name withheld] issued a preliminary report of the results of his laboratory examinations to the Guyana Police Department. With this report was a two-page report, requested by Mr. Roberts, on needed improvements to the firearms-toolmarks identification unit of the forensic science branch. These documents were hand-delivered to Mr. Roberts on 12/14/78.

From 12/12 until departure from Guyana on 12/16 SA [name withheld] assisted the other Special Agents on the team in reviewing the massive volumes of papers and tapes which were recovered from Jonestown by U.S. Embassy personnel and stored in the U.S. Consulate.

Where appropriate, FD-302’s have been issued.

Originally posted on November 3rd, 2018.

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