A crew of six men working for a Tarpon Springs underwater salvage company called Aqua Quest International have been detained in Honduras for nearly a month for failing to declare a gun but the captain's brother denies they did anything wrong.
"At no time was there any firearm that was undeclared," said Stephen Mayne. "We never had any intention of bringing a weapon into the country. It’s for protection when you’re out at sea."
The company's president and captain, Robert Mayne, along with Michael Mayne, Nick Cook, Devon Butler, James Garrett and Stephen Matanich have all been held at a prison in Puerto Lempira since May 5th, according to associates.
Stephen Mayne said the men went to Honduras to work on a project to aid local lobster divers. Mayne said country officials invited Aqua Quest International years ago to work on that project.
"Robert Mayne went there for Honduras open for business conference in May of 2011 and that’s how this whole project started," he said. "We were solicited by the government to come down and do projects down there."
The company has reached out to local Congressman Gus Bilirakis for help, according to spokeperson Elizabeth Hittos.
"Our office has been in constant contact with the crew from the beginning," she said. "They're in good spirits and are being treated okay."
Hittos said Rep. Bilirakis is working with the State Department and Honduran Embassy in D.C. to try and expedite the process. The captain's brother said he's hopeful the men will be released soon.
"This is just a travesty of justice," Mayne said. "We’re hoping the Honduran government can just step up to the plate, look at this situation, realize the absurdity of what they’re saying that we did and just release these guys immediately.”