Drugs seized at ports of entry

| 22/08/2008

(CNS): Customs officers have seized over a kilo (2.2lb) of cocaine with a street value of around $75,000 and 2000lb of ganja with a potential street value of as much as $3 million. Officers also assisted in the arrest of eight people in drug related incidents at both Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) and the George Town Port.

On 9 June the suspicious activity of a returning work permit holder at the airport led to customs officials calling the K-9 Unit, which resulted in the search of the Honduran national after the dog handler was alerted to potential drugs by the dog. A considerable amount of powered cocaine was found on him and he was subsequently charged with importation and possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

As a result of his arrest, further investigations were carried out with the assistance of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Drugs Task Force (DTF), which led to the detention of a Caymanian man for the involvement in the importation of cocaine. “The cocaine is in powder form and the unofficial weight is half a kilo,” Assistant Collector and Head of Customs Narcotic Enforcement Team/Intelligence Unit Trevor Williams said.

Several days later, a young Caymanian man returning from Honduras was also arrested and charged with importation and possession of cocaine with intent to supply at the airport after a search yielded approximately half a kilo of cocaine in powder on his person. Customs officials did not indicate whether the incidents were related but said investigations were continuing in both cases.

Two Caymanians were arrested on 8 August and charged with importation and possession of cocaine with intent to supply after suspicions were aroused and a search revealed cocaine in powder form on each man. The drugs weighed some 120 grams (4.2 oz).

A juvenile was also apprehended at the airport for the importation of a pellet gun on his arrival from Miami. “The pellet gun is a restricted item that requires a permit to import,” explained Williams. An x-ray search of the juvenile’s baggage led to the discovery of the firearm. He was interviewed in his mother’s presence and subsequently taken to Summary Court where he was fined $400 and the gun forfeited.

Meanwhile at the George Town Port, a search of what was supposedly an empty US-bound container on 3 July resulted in the discovery of 2,000 lbs of ganja when customs officers discovered a false compartment at the back of the 40-foot container.“The concealment was discovered during a random inspection by Customs of outbound containers,” Williams explained, adding that incident is still under investigation.

In another incident three cruise ship passengers from the US were arrested at the cruise terminal on 30 June after they were seen acting suspiciously when they arrived to re-board their ship. One was subsequently released without charge, while the other two were charged with possession of cocaine and ganja after being searched and found with a small amount of the drugs. They appeared in court on 1 July, resulting in a fine of $400 for Ronald Emanuel (30) for possession of cocaine, and Matthew Marmaros (21) was fined $350 for possession of ganja. In both instances, the drugs were deemed for personal use. All three men have since left the islands.

Williams said that the arrests were all a result of the vigilance of customs officers. “I am delighted that the admirable efforts of our officers have taken a substantial quantity of illegal drugs and a firearm off our streets. The arrests clearly demonstrate our zero tolerance to illegal substances and firearms. We take these cases very seriously and will continue to pursue them vigorously,” he added.

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  1. Tuco says:

    The Marine unit and the Drug Task force are a real joke how can you go from 19,000 to 0 seizures in a a period of 5 years it is sure odd that this period coincides with the departure of some of the best the DTF had to offer in officers and leadership.

  2. DUke says:

    Selfishness & greed is the order of the day in cayman….a place that suppose to be an island is becoming a city,& the city mentality is showing you see what all this developement brings…bigger bills,bigger headaches
    someone warned of the miserable dangers of development …you people should be ashamed of your damn selves…welcome to the world of misery !!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s good to see that not all the large ships that are getting cross the Marine Unit  are being transship and the law enforcement will be a little more vigilant in the future .