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Missing owner of 38 Donzi

Old 12-11-2006, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

Originally Posted by THRILLSEEKER
How big was this guys life insurance policy and where is his wife now??
Oh please.... WOMEN DON'T MURDER FOR MONEY....... I've never met a woman that loved money more than her hubby......
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

Originally Posted by OFFSHOREJOJO
Coolers full of fish??????

Square Grouper????
I can't talk about it right now, it's being handled by the Postal Inspector. Those guys don't mess around!
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:16 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

Originally Posted by OldSchool
Square Grouper????
could have been Rockfish
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

He's probably in Cuba drinkin Mojitos.
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

Originally Posted by KINGB
Anyone else remember the Texas Baja a few years ago?
From what I heard, if were talking about the same BAJA...the guy is doing 9 years in a prison in W. Virginia....
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Old 12-11-2006, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

Not the same guy
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

My condolences to the family.

This is definately a "strange" occurance. Alot of things don't add up and are "mysterious"
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Missing owner of 38 Donzi

If the gps was erased chances are he did it himself when the boat started acting up and he thought he might need a tow or something he wanted to cover up where he had been and what or who he done..
I doubt anyone with the stones to kill him would just sit around and erase the gps instead of just sinking the boat couple miles offshore and getting rid of all the evidence. Just my unedumacated guess..
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:17 AM
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Can't believe this was 2 years ago...............

Lost at sea


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, January 06, 2008

When boater Jim Trindade vanished at sea without a trace two years ago this week, there were many theories everything from a rogue wave to bloodthirsty pirates.

But federal law enforcement officials suspect the truth lies much closer to home. They believe the two young friends who were following Trindade back to Florida from the Bahamas on Jan. 12, 2006, were witnesses to an execution and accessories to murder.

Though they have not been charged with a crime, Brian Pratts and his fishing buddy Chris Gamblin, son of Trindade's best friend, Roger Gamblin, are "targets" of the investigation, according to authorities.

The allegations have poisoned a decades-long friendship between the Trindades and the Gamblins, who now are swapping sordid accusations of illicit sex, lies, drug smuggling and a confession forced at gunpoint.

Feds push drug-deal theory

For years, the Trindades and the Gamblins seemed inseparable, spending many weekends and virtually every holiday together.

Raymond James Trindade and Roger Gamblin were best friends for 30 years. Candace Cramer Trindade, Jim's companion for 16 years, and Peggy Gamblin, Roger's wife, were like sisters. Jimmy was at the hospital shortly after Chris Gamblin was born. Their children grew up together. And the families made dozens of trips to the Bahamas together.

On the morning of Jan. 12, 2006, 54-year-old Jim Trindade - avid fisherman, expert boater, champion kickboxer and water-skier, gourmet cook, doting father and all-around man's man - was preparing to return to Palm Beach County after yet another holiday at Spanish Cay, Bahamas.

Just before 9 a.m., Trindade, at the helm of Roger Gamblin's 38-foot Donzi - a go-fast boat that was used to smuggle drugs in the 2006 movie Miami Vice - departed the dock, with Chris Gamblin and Brian Pratts, both 23 at the time, following close behind in their boats. They stopped at Grand Cay, Bahamas, to refuel and eat lunch, then began the trip home at 12:30 p.m.

Twelve-and-a-half hours later, early Jan. 13, a U.S. Coast Guard jet spotted Trindade's boat spinning in circles 38 miles off St. Lucie County's coast, two of three engines idling. Trindade, who had made the trip to the Bahamas and back hundreds of times, was lost at sea.

In the hours and days after Trindade disappeared, it was Roger Gamblin who led the effort to find him, turning the office in his home near Wellington into a war room - dispatching planes, helicopters and boats for the search long after the Coast Guard had given up hope.

He acted as the spokesman for the Trindade family and appeared on Fox TV's America's Most Wanted, which has aired two segments seeking clues about Trindade's disappearance and plans a third this month.

He hired private investigators, took trips to the Bahamas, even booked a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas, which reported sighting a boat that resembled Trindade's on the day that he disappeared.

But investigators say Gamblin should have been looking closer to home.

The feds believe Chris Gamblin and Pratts were in the middle of a cocaine transaction at sea when Trindade surprised them. The feds say he was shot by an unnamed drug dealer. Gamblin and Pratts helped dispose of the body and covered up the killing, according to investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which took over from the FBI as the lead agency in the case about a year ago.

"That's been their theory for a long time," says Nicole Cotton, an attorney in top-gun criminal defense attorney Richard Lubin's office, which has been retained by Roger Gamblin to handle the case for his son.

Roger Gamblin, 60, says the charges are bunk, that the feds are trying to railroad his son.

He has a theory: Candace Trindade was having an affair and arranged to have Jimmy killed so she and her lover could collect on a $500,000 life insurance policy, ownership of their modest home in Atlantis and other assets totaling $1 million.

"What did we gain from all this?" Gamblin asks, sitting in the sprawling back yard of his 3-acre property, just feet from a massive teak and granite monument he built for his friend Jimmy Trindade. "What did she gain? A million dollars."

'I do have a temper'

Chris Gamblin and Pratts, now 25, say they are furious about the allegations. They say Pratts' boat had mechanical problems during the crossing and both of them fell behind Trindade. That, they say, was the last they saw of him.

"I am innocent," Pratts says. "Chris is innocent. And we've been innocent since day one."

The Gamblins say the feds' theory doesn't make sense. Why would the drug dealer kill Trindade but let Chris Gamblin and Pratts go?

"Why am I still alive?" Chris Gamblin asks.

In fact, Roger Gamblin, wealthy owner of Flagler Title Co., says he had a "come to Jesus moment," in which he asked Chris whether he was involved. His son said he was clean.

Those close to the Trindades say this is just the latest in a string of incidents in which Roger Gamblin cleaned up the mess after his son did something wrong.

They report that at times they saw Chris Gamblin try to punch his father. They say he was so out of control during one trip to the Bahamas that Trindade and a friend had to tie him to a tree.

"I do have a temper," Chris Gamblin says.

He also has a drug bust.

Records show he was arrested on felony charges in August 2005 - five months before Trindade went missing for possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Gamblin claims the drugs found in his pickup truck belonged to a friend, Matt Matyas of Dallas, who died of a drug overdose in the Gamblin home while the family was in the Bahamas.

He says he entered a guilty plea because his attorney advised him to do so.

Gamblin and Pratts admit to having tried marijuana, but both say they have never done cocaine and were not involved in drug smuggling.

"I would never even think of doing it," Pratts says.

Both failed a polygraph exam administered by the FBI a few days after Trindade vanished. But they claim the questions were vague.

Roger Gamblin paid for another polygraph, which both passed, the Gamblins say.

'He was a man's man'

Last week at the Trindade home in Atlantis, Candace Trindade was preparing for daughter Taylor's 16th birthday on New Year's Day. The years since Jim Trindade disappeared have been difficult for both mother, who works as a trauma nurse at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, and daughter, now home-schooled.

"He loved her more than anything in the world," Candace Trindade says. "That's the devastation for her. He's not going to be there for her graduation, for her sweet 16, not there when she walks down the aisle."

She begins to weep.

Taylor Trindade is in her bedroom. She doesn't want to talk about her father.

"Why don't these people just leave us alone?" she asks her mother.

"Because," Candace Trindade says, "this didn't just happen to us. Daddy is very well-loved. Daddy will not be forgotten. Daddy touched a lot of lives."

According to all who knew him, "Jimmy T" was bigger than life. Strong, athletic, handsome, fun, he was the glue who held all the friends together.

Raised in Lake Worth, he had been going to the Bahamas since he was 5, drinking Mount Gay rum and Cokes, spearfishing, firing up the grill - the essence of a good ol' Florida boy.

"He was a man's man," Candace Trindade says.

"He was the best friend I ever had," radio personality Russ Morley says.

"He had such a rich life," says Gary Adkison, a world-class shark expert and diver. "There's probably not a day that goes by that I don't think about him."

'I find it vile and repulsive'

In the months after Jimmy Trindade disappeared, Candace Trindade slept on her living room couch because she couldn't bear to sleep in their bedroom, she says. It took her a year and a half to go into his closet "because it smelled like him."

She says his death is especially hard on Jim Trindade's 79-year-old mother, Dottie.

Then Candace Trindade's tears turn to anger. Aware of Roger Gamblin's allegations of an affair, she has written a response on one page of loose-leaf paper. She reads it out loud:

"I find it vile and repulsive that Roger's desperation to protect his son has allowed him to add me to his list of conspiracy theories. I refuse to explain any personal aspects of my life to Roger Gamblin. Let me make it perfectly clear. I had nothing to do with Jim's murder."

She acknowledges that her relationship with Jimmy Trindade was not "storybook perfect" but adds, "I loved Jim. I still do."

She says she was "examined, investigated and cleared" by authorities.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:18 AM
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"The investigation continues to focus in one direction," she says, "because of three simple reasons: evidence, common sense and truth."

Patrick Trindade, Jim's brother, says, "We support the efforts of Homeland Security and other investigative agencies and believe they're on the right track."

That Pratts and Chris Gamblin are targets of the federal investigation is no surprise to the Trindades, who were suspicious from Day One. But without a confession or a body, the FBI investigation stalled.

Gunpoint confession rumored

That changed when Don Guthrie became involved a year ago. As a special field agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement focusing on drug interdiction from the Bahamas, Guthrie frequently goes undercover. Insiders say he developed "source information" about the case, and the U.S. attorney directed the agency, part of the Homeland Security Department, to take the lead.

The Donzi, which had been released back to Roger Gamblin shortly after the disappearance, was subjected to more forensic tests. Cellphone records were obtained, as well as DNA samples from Pratts and Chris Gamblin.

"The pieces of the puzzle started coming together a little bit," says one law enforcement officer who asked that his name be withheld because he is not authorized to speak about the case.

Roger Gamblin says Guthrie came to his house, got in his face and told him that his son was lying. Gamblin, who has heart trouble, says the confrontation caused the defibrillator in his chest to send a jolt to his heart, knocking him to the ground.

Contacted for this story, Guthrie says, "It is an active investigation, and I can't comment on it."

But he is no longer on the case, having been transferred to internal affairs. And Bruce Reinhart, assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the case, also is leaving his post. Another customs agent has been assigned to pick up where Guthrie left off.

"It is a priority," a source explains.

There is chatter about a confession, that one of Jim Trindade's good friends dispatched a couple of tough guys to rough up Pratts. The allegation is that one of the men stuffed a gun in Pratts' mouth and he immediately told all.

Adkison says he heard about the supposed confession.

The story goes like this: Threatened with the gun, Pratts blurted out that Trindade came up on the boats as the drug deal was under way and "went ballistic. He screamed at the boys. He wasn't going to tolerate this. He was going to call the Coast Guard, at which point the person on the other boat pulled out a gun and shot him."

At least, that's how Adkison heard it.

Pratts says the gun incident never happened. But he does say that Trindade's friend and some of his buddies threatened him at the dock in the Bahamas.

"He wished me good luck on the crossing and said I was going to need it," Pratts says.

Morley, the radio personality, says he cannot believe Chris Gamblin and Pratts were involved.

"We're not talking about criminal masterminds here," Morley says. "I'm all for the truth. But I'm not for conjecture."

Fast friends now feud

With the two families at war, the happy times in the Bahamas are over.

Two years ago, things were very different. The Trindades and the Gamblins were together at Spanish Cay, a 3-mile-long paradise of pristine beaches and palm groves. It was New Year's Eve - the night before Taylor's 14th birthday - and the families had hired a Jimmy Buffett-type band, Eric Stone's Island Music, to party the night away.

"It was such a wonderful evening," Adkison says. "Jim was pretty mellow that night. He was drinking some red wine, some very rare, special wine. Candace was out dancing. Taylor was out there. We were all dancing. Everybody had a great time."

Twelve days later, Jimmy T was gone.

Adkison seems caught in the middle. He says Roger Gamblin and his wife are good people, like family. Both are having health problems, and he wishes them well.

At the same time, Adkison misses his good friend Jimmy Trindade and wonders whether the truth will ever be known.

"We both are very much part of the sea," Adkison says. "I've spent most of my life under it or on it. I can't fly over the Bahamas without thinking about Jim. He's always there. Maybe that's the way it should be."
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