Customs officer arrested for drug smuggling

| 02/12/2011

(CNS): A local customs officer has been arrested in connection with exporting cocaine to Britain last September, officials have confirmed. The man is the second officer to be accused of being involved in cocaine smuggling through Owen Roberts International Airport to the UK. The officer is alleged to have been found with the same bag believed to have been used to transport the drugs to London. The case has involved a number of men and one Cayman officer remains on suspension in connection with the UK investigation. It is not known exactly how many other men were involved in the smuggling ring but three Caymanians were arrested and detained in the UK in connection with the alleged offences.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I fully agree with many of the comments raised about the rude and unprofessional  behavior towards visitors and residents arriving here. I have seen it myself.

    This experience did not happen years ago with the customs officers. They did their job with a smile. We would be lucky if we get a penny or nickel worth of smile.

    I think we should get them to smile if not paste one on them

  2. Anonymous says:

    Customs targets individuals and gives them the run around for no apparent reason. I am a female and have noticed on many occassions that when I come from a shopping trip and end up with a female customs officer, I am being interrigated like crazy and my bags are being searched. I believe it must be some sort of power trip they try to get on (or perhaps jealousy because I was shopping and they were stuck at work!).

     I don't have any problems with having my bags searched, but if I have three bags in total (of which one is my carry on), and I submit bills in excess of USD 1,600 to pay duty on, why am I being harrassed when in the "nothing to delcare line" dudes are walking through with 4 plus full sized suitcases and nobody bat as much as an eye lid????

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yet another Government department that is too Top Heavy with management that have been there way too long and not enough being done on the ground level enforcement tasks being carried out.

    Go to any Customs location on island (airport, seaport, port auth, post office) you never see the top management, yet you see the newly recruited officers doing as they please, on cell phones, showing lack of customer service & yes a few in slippers & flip flops.

    Now observe Customs officers in other jurisdictions they are the impeditment of professionalism. Being a Customs officer anywhere else in the world is a very prestigious and professional career. I would hope to see this whole department be reviewed and reformed. yes there are some really good officers with customs that display good work ethics but majority of them are there for a pay cheque and lack professional drive.

    Mr. Deputy Governor please look into this department and help to reform it just as you did when you were chief immigration Officer. You know how to straighten a department out for the good of employees & services provided.

    • Anonymous says:

      When is the last time you think the Director or one of his Deputies has been to the airport to watch his staff at work?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm aware of an on-going customer service enhancement program involving all airport staff – Customs & Immigration Departments declined the opportunity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Guess they figured they didn't need it, eh?

    • Gretchen Swaby says:

      This is absolutely not true both departments completed the PRIDE programme within the last 2 weeks. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm, this event happened in September 2010, not exactly last September. Wonder why it took so long to lay a charge??

  6. Theo says:

    To the Chief Customs Officer and his staff. Never mind the nay Sayers,take on and provide training you do a thankless job,but there are those of us who have the utmost confidence in your abilities and in what you do. God Bless each and everyone of you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Erm, Deputy Governor Designate Franz Manderson:  It looks like you have a major problem to address here…….just one of many. Immigration dept is a problem too with senior people falling down stairs.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problems you are referring to as Franz having at Immigration now are the problems he left behind when he moved on to his promotion at the portfolio, so lets hope he does a better job of addressing them from a distance. And, yea, no wonder the seniors are falling down stairs.

  8. Anonymous says:

    And while youre at it Mr Powery see if you can get them Custom girls in the Brac to wear shoes with their uniforms and not flipflops.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Rude and hostile Customs officers are a slap in the face to every Caymanian. Now Customs officers accused in drug smuggling, XXXXX.

  10. Micky Mouse says:

    After reading the aforementioned blogs I can only conclude one thing that the reason so many people think the Customs dept should do more to convey news to the people is so people can know all their tactics. The reason the immigration and RCIP is so ineffective is they are always talking. The public knows their hand before they play. Customs on the other hand is the only enforcement dept to effectively carry out their law.

    Customs have the most effective officers although some of them need some customer service training. So then Mr. Carlon Powery before you retire next year, do all of us a favor and have your officers attend the best customer service training there is. 

    • Rose says:

      Effective are you serious? When was then last time Customs made an arrest?

      • Just sayin says:

        Unfortunately Customs Dept, doesn't get all the credit that they derserve for actual drug bust or arrest as there are no "Papparazzi Hogs"working there. 

        Police love the limelight for NOT doing their jobs, Customs Officers are there to protect our Borders and to collect goverment revenue at the end of the day they are the first to give up much more than any other Enforcement Depts, and they are the ones who should have funding increased in their budget as the Police dept does, we may actually see a vast decrease with crime as the forefront of the problem would be to intercept the guns and drugs before the Traffic Police have to. Just saying "putting the horse before the cart actually works versus the cart before the horse".

        They work with what they have and do the best that they can and in many cases they are some of the most helpful law enforcement departments within government going above and beyond the call of duty. 

        I won't deny that there are some bad apples in the bunch but that is a very few, the Customs Dept is NOT the only Govt department that has that problem is it? 

        I have seen passengers who are very resentful when they have to pay duties,  as a matter of fact there was a lady who was in line before me the other day and she was actually crying saying that she can't believe that she has to pay duty on a gift she bought for her son and he lives here, even though she was informed by the cashier that the customs officer has given her a gift allowance which is all that she is allowed she still continued to rant and rave about having to pay any duty at all, she continued to insist that because her son lives ( work permit holder) here she shouldn't have to pay any duties.   

        Speaking of duties since Govt like to follow suit of other countries I think the very well overdue increase in the duty allowance for returning residents should be increased to follow suit with the US ( a US resident returning from overseas are allowed a USD$800.00 Duty Allowance) where we as Caymanian residents are only allowed KYD $350.00 or USD $400.00. this has been the amount for the past only God knows how long.



  11. Anonymous says:

    My question is simple. How many have be fired?

    • Anonymous says:

      He has fired NONE.  You don't up and fire your family.  They are all one, so why would he make them redundant?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Just another thing to have people look down on Caymanians for. The minority make it bad for the majority.

  13. Anonymous says:

    That entire dept needs to be reviewed and retrained. I returned from a recent business trip and the young Cayman female that took my customs ticket was very rude and clearly in need of additional training.  She did not welcome be back home as most customs dept in other countries practice and had a very negative attitude.  I was embarrassed as a Caymanian to know if she treated a fellow countrywoman this way how she must be treating foreigners.  Please choose the right people to put on the front line and not people who will continue to embarrass The Cayman Islands.



    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone knows who this officer is as there is nobody as rude as her in any other Govt. department.  I myself made complaints on this officer and I have no idea how she was even hired to begin with.

      • Jumbles says:

        "I have no idea how she was even hired to begin with."

        We all have a fair idea about how the interview went:


        Customs Interviewer "Are you Caymunian?"

        Rude customs officer to be "Yes"

        Customs Interviewer "Then welcome.  You have a job for life."


        • Anonymous says:

          Then where do I apply? How much does this job pay?  I have status, which makes me Caymanian!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anyone ever hear what happened to the immigration officer arrested in 2007?

    She was alleged to have falsified her boyfriend's re-entry records so he could fly (regularly!) to Jamaica and then came back on a drugs boat while his arrival was officially logged back through OWR. Worked very well until he was busted and the scam was uncovered.

    Her arrest by RCIPS was witnessed by several people but it never appears to have gone to court. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    When will the collector of Customs finally step up and address the public on public matters.

    It seems as though the public never hears from this department good or bad. With all the gun / drug crime happening within our community this department should be addressing the public on a consistent basis telling us what they are doing to protect our boarders! at least RCIP & Immigration heads of Department address the public. This department is made up of over 100 officers (all Caymanian so they should be able to work with one another) so please be accountable to the public and giveus some answers to: 

    What has the department done to increase border protection from gun / drugs entering our borders at sea, airport, cargo etc?

    How many officers are on the task force unit opposed to officers collecting duty? Maybe instead of spending millions on a container scanner more officers could be assigned to complete more searches of vessels, cargo, containers etc.  (I have never seen the scanner at the airport in operation this was probably another waste of a few $$$)

    Do you carry out internal audits of officers complying with the law? Because it seems that both of these officers were only caught through the UK arrest operation (who knows how long it was going on before then)?

    Maybe instead of hasslling the weekend shoppers for collection of duty the Customs department could actually do more to protect our borders. The police can only do so much to keep crime at bay but if your department can prevent the drugs / guns from arriving to our shores half the battle would be won.

    Come on Customs talk to us!