Ex-cop clamps down on drug smugglers

| 24/04/2014

(CNS): Just a few weeks into his new job as head of enforcement at customs, former senior police officer Marlon Bodden has started as he means to go on and is warning smugglers that he and his team are coming after them. Four people were charged and appeared in court this week after being nabbed at Owen Robberts International Airport during the Easter weekend carrying narcotics. Over 5 kilos of cocaine and an undisclosed quantity of ganja that had been hidden in hammock slats, shoes and electronics were seized by officials. “It’s my responsibility to make sure we are paying the right attention to all of the activity that is unacceptable,” said the new customs enforcer.

Talking about the importance of the partnership between customs and the RCIPS in policing drug smuggling and his goal to clamp down on it, Bodden told Cayman27 news that he had no intention of getting tired anytime soon.

“I gave over thirty years to the RCIPS and I am going to give another thirty to customs. We have the all-seeing eye,” he said referring to CCTV at the airport. “We want to let individuals know that we are going to check them and I am not going to apologise to the public as we are going to do our job and there may be some delays.”

With just a dozen reported drug seizures at the airport over the last five years, officials have said that the weaknesses were down to a lack of leadership until the relatively recent appointment of Samantha Bennett as the collector of customs and now Bodden as the head of enforcement.

The ex-cop has promised that said things are now going to change and he warned people who get involved in drug smuggling that they will get caught and said the recent haul was just the beginning.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman loves the drug problem its good for business

    That said It turns my stomache when I drive by the Drug Barons Businesses and see all those people shopping there

    It just shows the moral compass of the islands residents.


    • Anonymous says:

      Ridiculous comment. How can you make such generalisations about "the Island's residents"? I for one do not knowingly shop in any drug baron's business.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Marlon, this position could not have been handed down to a better outstanding Caymanian than you. Justice have been served to you and your family. Your parents, May and Mattie must feel proud, especially the good morals they instilled in their children. I congratulate you and your team on the excellent work apprehending the drugs and crimes in our island, may God bless and guide you all aspects. In so doing, Marlon I trust in some way you will include in your notes "customer courtesy" to your officers especially at the airport, "some" of them are the most rudest human being on the face of this earth. I am ashame at the comments the public is experiencing from them. When a person choses to travel clean or unclean, drugs, guns or whatever, they are human beings who globaly are aware of the consequences of evading customs in any country. BUT deals with that invidual in a professional manner. Your custom officers drastically need a course in "public behaviour to customers". Oh my God I was told of a lady a few evenings ago arriving back home from a medical trip overseas and even her private underwears were toasted about, her personal handbag was thoroughly torn open and searched, very embarrasing. She was argued to, and threathened to have her "rights" read to her. Yes, of course this is the duty of the officer, but for Christ sake have some respect for a human being. Encourage your Supervisor to provide a suitable search room to avoid the hurt and damage done to people.  Do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you. And please remind your officers they are paid by the "Public Purse"  to enforce the law but at the same time they can be polite, smile and be nice to our tourist industry.  I wish you all the best, may God be your shield on this journey for a better Cayman.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shows the terrfying scale of local corruption.  This is the tip of the iceberg.

  4. Anonymous says:

    ONLY 12 SEIZURES in FIVE YEARS!  And then a change in leadership, suddenly we are awash with drugs. Some large group of people clearly were not doing their job!!  The smugglers didnot suddenly start last week.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Resources when you don't have enough staff you can't cover such risky flights like this.   Limited overtime budget to cover the shortfall and the balance of not having complaints of long lines. That's what happened before. ……… Criminals pray on this weakness in our systems.  It's all over the Civil Service.  It's sad and unfortunate for those that try to make a difference. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can tell you Bennett has made some big changes in the Dept in the short time she has been there.  It's a pleasure to work with her and she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. In fact she was working the Shift at the Airport when the drugs were found. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    We have for a long time known this was happening, but no action was taken.  I hope the government deports every last one who tries to infiltrate our Islands with corruption and drugs.  Hats off to you Marlon, and keep up the good works.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We have become like America. Talking too much. Do you think that with all this bragging that these drug Lords are stupid. They are too smart to to use this same route now. Mouth kills fish. Congrats anyhow Mr Bodden for doing a good job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious? Do you really believe that drug dealers didn't already know about these drug busts and waited to read about them on CNS? LMAO!


  9. Kadafe says:

    Glad to see we have someone that we can count on now in a top spot!

    I have faith that this man will do well for our country in his current position.

  10. 4Cayman says:

    Great job guys! Only question I have to ask, what was happening before? All of this in one weekend….geesh! 

  11. Whodatis says:

    Great start Bodden!

    Always been a stand-up guy … should have been better utilized in our community from ages ago – however, we know how certain things go roun' these here colonial parts.

    Keep up the good work – it will be worth the minor inconvenience to the rest of us law-abiding folks.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  13. Well done says:

    Well done! It is time for qualified and passionate people to make positive changes and it is very refreshing to see this. 

    I hope the Customs Dept continues to choose the right people for the right job (and not who-ya-know)  Ms. Bennett and Mr. Bodden: Train your people well,implement fair pracitices and practical procedures, hire local talent when you can, make accountability your top priority, and we wish you every success!

    • Hear Hear says:

      What part of that (above) deserved a thumbs down? Do a good job: Train your people, hire local talent when you can, be fair and practical, and be accountable….sounds like sound advice to me?

      • Anonymous says:

        Probably the "hire local talent".  Since many see that as a source of corruption and a reason so much drugs enter the country.

      • False Pretender says:

        Very simply put hear hear is some people ought to learn to tell the truth and stop being opportunist and using and stealing other people hard work to further their own little agenda's. Can't say i am surprise though the people who do the work never get the praise and we always seem to have these unscruplous people who claim credit for things they know nothing about  But that is how things run in Cayman these days it seems?

    • And Another Ting says:

      To all de thumbs down don't even think about yin ya hear unless well you could be addled. What's the next ting?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Excellent job H.M. Customs and the RCIPS!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Kudos Mr. Bodden looks like you are off to a positive start.  Keep up the good work!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Mr. Bodden on your appointment to the customs department.  Keep up the good works, thanks for keeping our borders safe from drug smugglers.  I am elated by the recent seizures at the airport.  Customs are the first defence to our borders whether to intercept illegal drugs, criminals and contrabands such as plant and food that can destroy our country. The Border Control Series shows just how proactive Customs should be in the protection of borders.  This link will show just how far people will go to smuggle drugs and any form of contrabands.  Smugglers come in all shape, forms and races (it is being done by the old, young, middle aged) it is just frightening here are some links to actual Customs intercepting smugglers at the airport in  Customs UK (Gatwick Airport) 


  17. Carillo Fuentes says:

    Clamp down now thats funny when Mr Arch the ex chairman CIAA brought some very serious concerns to the attention of our last illustrious Governor during a meeting after a similar bust at the Owen Roberts airport from the same destination about certain activities at the Airport some seem very unconcerned about the dire situation. And you know what else is really funny those who spent alot of time and energy running to ground and destroying the DTF and its effectiveness which allowed this situation of Drugs & Arms smuggling to escalate to its current state are now been brought back to Fix or stop it God & Derek Haines must be laughing eh!!!!! Premier comment "effective leadership" that topped it off  everybody is now laughing. Only Cayman!

    • Hear Hear says:

      I agree, more Derek Haines tactics and less "who ya know" cronyism and corruption.  We NEED some top cops (Customs & Police) who are ready to take down the fat cats.

      For those of you who were here and KNEW Derek's hard nose approach, it was "It does not matter who you are related to or how much money you have: Break the law or aid in drug smuggling and you would be caught!"  It is time for us to focus on Derek's amazing $1 million dollar charity efforts for Hospice now, and let new tough cops get to work.

      We need some top cops and for those of you who have benefited in some way (BIG local family names I tell ya!!) it is time to be grateful you did not get caught, take your money, retire, and get out of the drug trade.

      We had politicians in the past decade (oh yes!) that got into bed with Drug Kingpins and if you go the way of cement shoes now that our borders are closed, then good-bye.  But NO MORE white collar corruption fueling this drug trade.

      Dont be fooled.  We haveUSA  DEA agents stationed here and they know who the fat-cats are…time to take action, enforce the law, and read the headlines!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Congrats! Let's see more of this!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Which drives me to think that there were people at the airport who were either not doing their job properly before, or were taking a cut, with my money on the latter.

    • more to come customs says:

      This is the tip of the iceberg.  That LARGE amount of cocaine was not just for local use but shows that Cayman is being used as a drug distribution point which means some powerful people are invloved and big toes are being stepped on.  Gang activilty will increas for a show of power?  The one thing the drug lords do not hve over us is size….we are small enough to stamp this out in a small community and seal our border.

      Head to the next island, this one is closed?


    • Anonymous says:

      We do have some very professional staff at Customs who are witty and at the same time very nice. However there is a very obese woman that treats people like dirt. Just hope that Samantha gives her some good training or shift her. The public speaks very ill of her. One can do a good job in a professional way, however some folks get a good high from being rude. There are certain people working at Immigration and Cinico that behaves in the same fashion. They are not fit to be in the front line serving people.