Four men and a woman were arrested overnight 7 February after police said they were spotted piloting a fast canoe loaded with what was believed to be ganja in the Driftwood Village area of Grand Cayman’s North Side.
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers hunted down the suspects using a helicopter and the 45-foot ‘Cayman Protector’ patrol boat. Officers were also stationed along the beach
Police said the canoe operators refused orders to shut down the boat’s engine and drove off, leading officers on a pursuit.
While officers were chasing the canoe, police said a large number of bales and containers were thrown over the side of the vessel. Police spokesperson Deborah Denis said the helicopter spotted the bales being tossed into the water.
Captain Ned Miller, who lives in the area where police were pursuing the canoe, said he awoke to find RCIPS officers standing on his beachfront property.
‘Containers were washing up, one five gallon container washed up right on my beach,’ said Captain Miller. ‘Now, I don’t know what was in the container, I only imagined it was ganja, you know.’
An RCIPS press release said the bales and plastic drums were thought to contain ganja, weighing slightly over 1,000lbs.
The arrests affected many North Side residents on their drive into work, or while they were running errands around town. Erena Ebanks, owner of Chisholm’s Supermarket, said police were actually searching vehicles for drugs.
‘Three police cars are parked out front (of the store),’ said Ms Ebanks. ‘A lady came in and told me police had told her to open her trunk.’
Captain Miller also confirmed that police officers were inspecting vehicles on the North Side.
‘They were checking cars that were heading east….from the scene. They checked mine even,’ he said.
Ms Denis said full searches of the beach, the water, and underwater areas near the shore were conducted to round up any remaining items which were thrown from the boat.
Three Caymanians and two Jamaican nationals who police believed were on the canoe were arrested at the scene. The suspects included a 37-year-old man from Prospect, a 26-year-old man from West Bay, a 32-year-old woman from West Bay, a 31-year-old man from Jamaica, and a 44-year-old man from Jamaica.