Cruise passengers guilty of importing ganja

Two passengers from the cruise ship CarnivalVictory appeared in Summary Court on Friday afternoon, when they pleaded guilty to importation and possession of ganja.

Krystelle T. Lopez and Jonathan C. Lay were arrested after an incident at the George Town Harbour on Thursday morning.

The Customs K-9 Unit was on duty and the dog alerted officers to the defendants. They were taken to the Customs area and searched. A ganja spliff was found in Lopez’s handbag.

Both defendants admitted having it for their personal use. They also admitted having more ganja in their cabin.

Customs officers boarded the cruise ship and recovered a small plastic bag of vegetable matter.

Lopez and Lay were arrested and cautioned. They were then taken to the George Town Police Station, booked and processed.

After that, they were taken to Customs headquarters where they were interviewed under caution and made full admissions.

The defendants spent the night in custody, with Lay returned to the George Town station and Lopez to the West Bay station.

Crown Counsel Trevor Ward told Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale that the cruise ship’s last port of call before Cayman was Mexico.

He said the weight of the ganja was approximately 34 grams, but that included the zip-lock bag in which it was contained.

That quantity equals about 1.2 ounces.

Charge sheets showed that the defendants, both 23, had addresses in the Miami area.

The magistrate said the only reason they would not be arrested in their own country was that the prisons would overflow because drug use in the US was so prevalent.

In Cayman there was no such difficulty, so if the court were so minded, it would be entirely appropriate to put them in custody as a warning to others who would import ganja into this jurisdiction.

Instead, she fined them $1,500 each for the importation and emphasised that was in CI currency, not US.

There was no separate penalty for possession.