A Doylestown native who was one of six Americans stuck in a coastal Honduran prison for seven weeks has been released along with his crew mates, officials announced Thursday. The men, part of a boating crew, were trapped for two months in what Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick called “deplorable” conditions.
Devon Butler, a Central Bucks East graduate, was a member of the Florida-based Aqua Quest International crew. The crew was jailed in coastal Honduras in early May after the Honduran government intercepted the boat on suspicion there were illegal guns on board.
Fitzpatrick, a Republican who represents Bucks County, has been advocating for the crew's release. He traveled to the Central American country this week in a push to free the men.
“I visited the Americans in captivity and witnessed the deplorable conditions in which they were wrongfully held for nearly two months. The strength and courage of these men in the face of uncertainty and danger in a far away place is an inspiration to me and it was my duty advocate for their rightful release,” Fitzpatrick said.
Butler’s family expressed great relief.
“On behalf of the families of the Aqua Quest crew, we are grateful to all who have supported us through this lengthy and difficult ordeal. I especially would like to thank Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, and his staff, for their relentless, diligent, and ultimately successful effort to free six innocent Americans,” said Rosemary Carroll, Butler’s mother.
The captain of the ship told USA Today that the weapons on board are registered in the United States and the Honduran maritime authorities were notified in advance. The crew said they brought the guns onboard to protect against pirates.