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Belize's Discovery Divers Charged Over Missing U.S. Snorkeler

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BELIZE CITY, Belize -- Tomorrow makes one month since 68 year old American tourist John Dresp went missing while out on a snorkeling tour near Caye Caulker island in Belize with Discovery Divers.

According to Dresp's brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Winifred Dresp- - who were also on the trip - -conditions at sea that day, including a strong current and poor safety standards, contributed to their loved one's disappearance. The Dresps and fifty-five other guests were aboard Belize Pride, owned and operated by Discovery Divers Limited. That company has denied any wrongdoing. Although the body of the Nebraska man has not been recovered charges have now been made.

Today Discovery Divers owner David Gegg and 40-year-old tour guide Bernard Mortis appeared in the Belize City Magistrate's Court. Mortis was charged for operating as a tour guide without first obtaining a license and Gegg answered to a charge of employing an unlicensed tour guide.

Both men appeared before Magistrate Harrison Hulett today. The charge against Gegg was filed improperly so Hulett threw it out. Mortis meanwhile pleaded guilty to the charge and he was fined $175. Mortis was charged after the incident when the police asked to see the licenses for the guides. Mortis license had expired in 2004.

Neither Gegg nor Mortis were actually arrested. Both men were instead served with summons to appear in court today. Dresp's family left Belize on December fifth, frustrated that they could not find his body.

The ill-fated tour was subcontracted to Gegg's Discovery Divers Ltd. by Norwegian Cruise Line, owner and operator of the Norwegian Dream cruise ship.


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