A November trial date has been set in the United States federal government’s investigation of several alleged gun running incidents that occurred between South Florida and Grand Cayman during 2008 and 2009.
The trial is now set for 13 November in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before US District Judge William Zloch.
Caymanian Mikkyle Brandon Leslie, aka Brandon Leslie Ebanks, is the first of six defendants charged in connection with the investigation. The identities of the other five are being kept secret in sealed indictments released in February by authorities.
In December, Leslie was charged with five counts related to allegations he conspired with other individuals to illegally ship firearms to Grand Cayman from the Miami-Broward County area. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Since then, the federal indictment against Leslie and five others has been superseded and replaced, and Leslie is now facing seven counts in relation to the gun running case.
Count 1 accuses Leslie of conspiracy to ship firearms from Florida to Cayman with other individuals; some others have been charged in the superseding indictment, others are named as unindicted co-conspirators.
Counts 2, 4 and 6 against Leslie deal with separate allegations that he attempted to and did fraudulently export illegal firearms; counts 3, 5 and 7 involve delivery of those illegal weapons to a common carrier for shipment without authorisation.
The investigation that led to Leslie’s arrest in the US this past December has identified roughly a dozen individuals – most of them from the Cayman Islands – that were “participants in the firearms smuggling activities”.
Leslie’s alleged activities, according to a federal criminal indictment handed up on 22 December, were that he participated in the illegal shipping of firearms from the Miami area to Grand Cayman between May and November 2008. The new indictment expands the scope of that case significantly.
An indictment is a charge of criminal activity and does not constitute a conviction.
Investigations into gun smuggling activities in Cayman and Florida between 2008 and 2009 have already led to the jailing of four Caymanian men in the US and at least two others here in the Cayman Islands. However, the current indictment deals with separate incidents of gun smuggling.