Fugitive immigration employee suspended

Wanted in Lee County, Florida

A Caymanian male employed with the
Immigration Department has been placed on required leave pending a disciplinary
hearing.

Eric Christopher Bodden, 23, is
listed on the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office website as a wanted
fugitive. Lee County is on Florida’s west coast and includes the cities of Fort
Myers and Cape Coral.

On Saturday, Chief Officer of
Cayman’s Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Franz Manderson confirmed
Mr. Bodden’s employment with the Immigration Department.

“Mr. Bodden was employed by the
Department for less than three months and was in training,” he said. “Given the
fact that the disciplinary proceedings have not been completed it would be
inappropriate to comment further.”

The Lee Country website states that
as of 23 April, 2010, Mr. Bodden was wanted for “felony failure to appear
trafficking controlled substance; possession narcotic equipment.”

According to sheriff’s office
records, Mr. Bodden was arrested on 24 June, 2009, in Cape Coral, Florida and
charged with “drugs-traffic 4 grams less 30 kg other controlled substance,” a
felony offence. He was also charged with two counts of narcotic equipment
possession and/or use’ a misdemeanour.

Court docket information shows that
Mr. Bodden failed to appear at his trial on 27 July, 2009.

His failure to appear to answer the
charges is what led to Mr. Bodden ending up on the “Lee County Wanted Fugitives”
list.  The website asks those who know the
whereabouts of Mr. Bodden’s to call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.

Lee County Clerk records show that
Mr. Bodden had been arrested 17 other times between April 2003 and April 2008,
mostly for a variety of motor vehicle-related offences.

However, Mr. Bodden was arrested
and charged for offences involving marijuana in August 2008 and again in
November 2008, the second with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver.  He was sentenced to a maximum 150 days in Lee
County Jail and six months probation for the first offence.  He was sentenced to perform 50 hours of
community service and two years probation for the second offence.  Several filings about the violation of that
probation have since been filed with the court.

Mr. Bodden was also arrested and
charged with armed robbery in April 2008, a felony punishable by life imprisonment
in Florida, but the case was not pursued after the prosecution filed notice of
‘nolle prosequi’.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office
Warrants Department confirmed Saturday that the warrant for Mr. Bodden’s arrest
was still active and that US Marshall’s were working on the case with the
Sheriff’s Office.  It also confirmed that
Crime Stoppers had received a tip about Mr. Bodden’s whereabouts.

Mr. Manderson said he was unaware
of a visit to Cayman by members of any US law enforcement agency in relation to
the case.

“I am also unaware of any
extradition proceeding being enacted in respect of this case,” he said. “All such
matters are handled by the Legal Department.”

TOPEricBoddenSTORY

Bodden
Photo: Lee County Sheriff’s Office
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3 COMMENTS

  1. Doesn’t the government do criminal checks on all it’s employees? If not, it’s about time they did. They certainly do for the expats. Or is there a double standard here?

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  2. This is just too funny for words. An Immigration officer is a fugitive. I tell you when expats come here they have to provide police clearance certificates plus finger prints etc and health notes from doctors to show that they will not come here and bespoil the beautiful Cayman Islands, yet here we have a fugitive from the US, a Caymanian no less who gets employed to protect the country’s borders. Very bizarre.

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  3. I am an expat. But let’s be fair here. If he has commited an offence in Florida. The US. How does the cayman authorities know this? If this man needed a police clearance to work, he would have had to obtain one from HERE. Right on the island, because he is Caymanian. Am I the only one understanding this? And a US criminal record is not going to show up on the cayman police’s database.

    I’m just sayin……

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Comments are closed.