HOUSTON -- The Woodlands man who was jailed for 14 months in the Dominican Republic is now a free man. A smiling Larry Davis was embraced by friends and supporters Thursday, acquitted of drug smuggling charges and ready to return to the life he once knew.
"There he is folks, there he is folks; the man, they myth, the legend," a friend recording the moment Davis walked out of prison said. "What's up buddy? Praise the Lord."
Davis embraced his friend and began to cry, "Thank you Lord, thank you Lord."
It was not known when Davis would be cleared to return to the United States, but his ordeal behind bars has ended. The way it began reads something like a movie script.
Davis, 44, leased out a boat to a Honduran man who, unbeknownst to him, used the boat to transport drugs. After authorities found almost 1,000 kilos of cocaine and 2.6 kilos of heroin on the vessel, they lured Davis from the states to the island, telling him there was a problem with an inspection.
"He [Davis]and his father for years operated a fuel-trading business in the Caribbean and Central America. They owned a fuel-trading vessel that they used to do this business," Davis' attorney, Sean Buckley, explained. "In late 2015, Larry's mother became diagnosed with terminal cancer. Larry and his father, at that point, made the decision that they would lease their fuel-trading vessel which is a 160-foot boat so that both Larry and his father could spend time with Larry's mother in her final weeks and months."
Buckley said the Davises leased their vessel, the Precon Express, to a man whom they thought was also a fuel trader.
"As it turned out, that man and the crew of the boat ended up smuggling some drugs that Larry had nothing to do with, but because he was seen as the owner of the boat, he was implicated in the drug smuggling here in the Dominican Republic," Buckley said.
Authorities then called Davis.
"They called him down to address a boat inspection, that's what they told him, and being innocent and not knowing anything about the drugs, Larry came down to the Dominican Republic the next day," Buckley explained.
Once Davis arrived, he was detained and spent a year and two months in the country; away from his home and his children. He was in a place where he was the odd man out, unable to communicate with his fellow inmates or guards.
Buckley said Davis felt "lonely."
"He was one of the few Anglo people in the jail. He could not have contact with his family or friends. His family was afraid to come down and see him in the Dominican Republic. They thought that since the family owned the boat, that any of them could be implicated along with him," Buckley said.
And the conditions were scary.
"The prison itself was what you would expect from a developing country. There were cholera outbreaks; one inmate died from cholera. There were problems with the clean water supply and conditions. It was a very difficult environment," Buckley said.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found Davis not guilty of drug smuggling, bringing a close to the legal part of Davis' ordeal.