Local man pleads not guilty to gun running

| 10/11/2010

(CNS): The crown opened its case on Tuesday against Caymanian, Joseph Hurlston who has been charged with the importation of a firearm and has elected a judge alone trial. Hurlston is accused of bringing a weapon into the Cayman Islands via a canoe from Jamaica following his arrest in East End earlier this year. The court heard that in the early hours of Tuesday 20 April police on operation in the area had observed a group of men acting suspiciously on the beach. Soon after officers came across two men walking along Austin Connolly Drive who seemed to be wet. The men ran off after police approached them and the defendant was seen to throw something in to the bushes, police said, where they later recovered a firearm.

During the original operation five Caymanian men and one Jamaican man were arrested. Hurlston is the only defendant to face trial in relation to the incident which police described as an extensive operation at the time. Officers involved said that they had recovered a substantial quantity of ganja along with cocaine and hash oil as well as three firearms.

It is believed when the men were intercepted they had abandoned their boat which sank as they tried to make a landing on the local shoreline.  The marine unit later found the capsized canoe more firearms and the residue of its illicit cargo. A police officer who was aboard the police boat Tornado told the court that a back pack he had recovered from the ocean near where the canoe had capsized the police discovered a handgun along with Hurlston’s British passport his Cayman divers license, his CNB bank card a gps device and a travel itinerary for a trip to Jamaica.

The trial is expected to continue till Thursday.

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