Treasure Chasers

October 2, 2011

Attempted murder complaint filed against American treasure hunters in the Philippines!

Filed under: Salvager — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 4:05 pm

(PRWEB) June 30, 2002

News Release

June 28, 2002

(Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

The accused include a Philippine National Police Colonel, Segundo Duran (PNP) and Moro National Liberation Front-Abu Sayyaf Commander, Tony Nasa, and former American partners in the salvage of the “fake” Japanese Hospital ship “Tieyo Maru” that is located in the main harbor of Camiguin Island off the north coast of Luzon, in the Baybuyan Islands. The 400 ft. ship, which was sunk during the first week of April, 1945, lies in 100 feet of crystal clear water, near Calupiri Island and only 1,500 meters from the islands’ main dock. A salvage permit had been awarded to Pacific SeaQuest and Dennis Standefer (The complainant) in 1993 by then President, Fidel Ramos, for this ship and 33 others that are in the area, including the USS Charleston (See map below and related stories)

The accused American treasure divers include Karl Steven Ryll, 42, who is the ringleader, and a El Monte California High school teacher, who is married to a Filipina, and Steven Edward Morgan, 54, who has been living in Manila salvaging shipwrecks and raising investment money since 1995. The two treasure hunters were assisted and financed by Harold Karaka, of San Fernando, California, and Kiy Dupont, from Louisiana, who are also Americans.

This group has attempted to murder their former partner, Dennis Standefer, 57, (who started the salvage project in 1993) since early 1998 in the Philippines and Malaysia, where Standefer was living at the time. The murder attempts and death threats were first reported to the Philippine government and the American Embassy (Manila) in early 1995 and were extensively covered in the Philippine and United States press at the time. (See attachments of Special series by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Santa Barbra News Press)

When the groups direct attempts to kill Standefer in Zamboanga, Mindanao and Sabah, Malaysia failed, they filed a phony “rape” charge in Surigao City, Mindanao, in August 1999 (See News Release attached for more details) seeking the extradition to the Philippines and death-penalty for Standefer. Ryll and Morgan were assisted in this by Colonel Duran and his friends in the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine Interpol, which included the Director Ricardo A. Diaz and others.

Ryll and Morgan also paid officers of a Philippine NGO, ECPAT Philippines, to assist them in filing the fake case, by giving Diaz an “excuse” to have NBI/Interpol extradite Standefer from Indonesia. (See “victims statement sworn statement attached)

This group has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, “legal fees”, bribes, and payments to officials in the Philippines, and Indonesia to have Standefer held in detention without trial, or a chance to present evidence or witnesses in his behalf, in Indonesia and then extradited to the Philippines last year. The NBI transported Standefer to Manila on May 11, 2001, at the government’s expense, after having him injected with drugs and carried aboard a Philippines airlines flight.

Standefer was held in the NBI’s detention center in Manila for three weeks, without incident, after the American Embassy Consul Paul Boyd took “extreme interest” in the case and in Standefers’ safety after hearing of Ryll’s actions in Jakarta. (See American Embassy letters). Paul Boyd confronted Karl Ryll in the presence of NBI/Interpol Director Diaz and “ordered” Ryll not to be involved in Standefers’ case in any way. At that time Ryll admitted using his NBI identification to attempt to gain access to Standefer detention cell in Indonesia as well as misrepresenting that he was working for the Philippine government on the case.

In early June of 2001, three NBI agents transferred Standefer to Surigao City, Mindanao, to await his trial. Upon Standefers’ arrival there, no one seemed to know what to do, as the case had NEVER been pursed in Surigao City, only by Ryll, Morgan, Duran, and Diaz. The prosecutor, court, and the trial judge, had no knowledge of Standefers’ two-year incarnation in Indonesia, his extradition, or his detention at NBI headquarters, until he arrived in Surigao City. The case had been returned to the archives, there was never any preliminary investigation (as is required by Philippine law), the “alleged victim”, refused to meet with the prosecutor in 1999, and the “warrant of arrest” was illegally issued, not to the NBI, but to Karl Ryll! THE RAPE WAS NEVER EVEN REPORTED TO THE LOCAL POLICE and there is no police report or ANY other evidence or witness statements in the case file. Only the one page “complaint” written by Karl Steven Ryll.

It was quickly determined that the rape never took place and that Standefer was not even in the Philippines at the time the “alleged rape” took place (early November 1994). This was verified by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration records and Standefers’ passport.

Nine witnesses presented themselves to the Chief Prosecutor (including the alleged victim-Niefelyn Sumaylo)) and confirmed that there never was a rape, Standefer never came to Surigao in 1994, and that Ryll made up the story and got the case filled in August of 1999, along with Duran and Nasa. There was testimony that Ryll even wrote the “complaint” himself, when a local attorney refused to get involved. (See attached sworn statement)

After a brief court hearing where the witnesses testified, the case was dismissed. Standefer did not even hire a lawyer for his death-penalty trial, but only paid a local attorney $ 10 to file the papers to have him released on July 5, 2002.

The groups’ next move was for Steven Morgan to file a “new” fake case and persuade the Philippine Undersecretary of Justice, Attorney Maria Merceditas Gutierrez, to get a hold departure order on Standefer to give them a chance to have him killed before he could leave the Philippines.

Ryll, Morgan, Karaka, Nasa, and Duran have been hunting for Standefer in the United States, Indonesia and the Philippines ever since. While Standefer has remained at an undisclosed location for the last year, they have continually sought the location of the witnesses and have continued to threaten to kill them for telling the truth in this case.

(Note: Over 200 pages of documents, photographs, previous news releases, newspaper articles, witness statements, and additional information are available on request, by email or fax and can be down loaded from the website below) or or

For additional information or to conduct an interview, contact:

Fax: 1.425.928.6496 (USA)

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