Honduran prisoner returns to Cordele - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Honduran prisoner returns to Cordele

CORDELE, GA (WALB) - An emotional roller coaster, that's how a Cordele man describes his 53 days in jail in Honduras. 

Nick Cook was released after help from missionaries and U-S Congressmen.

Cook's love for scuba diving and treasure hunting took him to Honduras with his company. He never could have imagined what happened once he got there.

Nick Cook spent the day hanging out with his son and sleeping in for the first time in 2 months. He went to Honduras with Aqua Quest International to dive for mahogany logs, but Honduran police ended the trip before they even docked.

"We pull the anchor up, that's when we find out the police are coming. They're coming to seize our weapons and arrest us," said Cook. 

Those weapons were supposed to protect Cook and his team from pirates; he quickly realized what he was a part of.

"The whole thing turned out to be an extortion racket. They wanted money from us," said Cook. "The very first night they wanted $17,000 to set us free."

They didn't pay the money, and sat in a small, Honduran jail for 53 days. Cook says the worst people weren't the prisoners.

"The guards like to drink; they like to smoke their drugs--get high. And sometimes we'd hear gunshots in the middle of the night.," remembered Cook.

The time in jail was made worse by the unfulfilled promises of freedom.

"Just from the whole roller coaster ride of when we were going to be released; we're not being released. When we finally are released it's just a flood of emotions."

The emotions flowed more as their boat sailed toward his family in Tarpon Springs, Florida last night.

"That was an amazing feeling. It actually brought tears to my eyes yesterday," said Cook.  "Once we actually see each other again, that's when it all feels right in the end."

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