Cruise passengers had ganja

Two cruise ship passengers last week became acquainted with parts of Cayman few visitors ever see – the police station lock-up and Court Two of the Law Courts Building.

Nicholas Iglesias, 22, and Tomaso Castillo, 21, appeared in Summary Court on Wednesday after spending the night in custody. They had arrived in Grand Cayman on Tuesday aboard the Carnival Valor, which left Cayman waters that same evening.

They pleaded guilty to importation of ganja.

Crown Counsel Kirsti-Ann Gunn told the court that Customs officers were using narcotics-detection dogs at the George Town Dock to check passengers as they disembarked.

One of the dogs barked at Iglesias. Officers searched him, but nothing was found. The dog continued its attention to Iglesias; he was questioned and made certain admissions.

Officers boarded the cruise ship with the dog and searched the men’s cabin. The ganja was in a safe.

The men admitted joint ownership, saying they had purchased the drug in Miami. They said they did not realise it was an offence to bring it within 12 miles of Cayman’s shore.

There had not been time to get the ganja weighed, but it looked like less than half a handful.

The defendants, dressed in shorts and tank tops, apologised to the Cayman Islands and said they never meant any disrespect.

Castillo told the court that they had spent the night in custody, their boat had left them, and they had only the clothes on their back. ‘We just want to go home,’ he said.

They were fined US$1,000.

The two had US$1,700 and asked if one would have to remain in custody.

One defendant remained in custody at Central Police Station while the other was escorted to a place where he could receive a wire transfer of additional funds.

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