Second defendant in Cayman-Florida caper nabbed
Another local man has been charged in a five-count United States federal court indictment in connection with gun smuggling activities between south Florida and Grand Cayman.
Michael Alexander Henry, 28, was arrested Thursday evening at a North Carolina airport by US air marshals, according to federal court records. He had flown there from Grand Cayman earlier in the day.
Henry has been indicted, along with Mikkyle Brandon Leslie, in federal court as a suspect in the US-Cayman probe which has identified several shipments of firearms and ammunition that were sent from the Miami/Broward County area to Grand Cayman during 2008 and 2009.
Four other suspects have been charged in the case along with Leslie and Henry, but their identities have so far been kept secret in charge records produced by American law enforcement.
According to those records, Henry’s alleged involvement in the gun smuggling was related to a smuggling incident that was heretofore unknown in the Cayman Islands, prior to the Caymanian Compass’ reporting on the federal investigation last December.
Charges against Henry indicate: “On or about February 6, 2009, [Defendant 3 – an indicted but unnamed individual] and Mikkyle Brandon Leslie caused boxes containing a lamp, ceiling fans, and a vacuum cleaner, all of which contained concealed firearms, to be shipped from Port Everglades, Broward County, Florida to Grand Cayman through a freight forwarder to Henry under the name of Michael Henry.
“On or about February 13, 2009, upon returning to Grand Cayman [Defendant 3] and Henry obtained the boxes that had been shipped to Henry and took them to [a residence] in Grand Cayman.” Earlier investigative records also revealed the involvement of Leslie and another defendant in shipping guns in boxes containing a vacuum cleaner, lamps, ceiling fans and other items purchased at a Home Depot in Hialeah, Florida.
Henry faces federal charges of conspiracy, fraudulent exportation and illegal exportation of firearms from the US to Grand Cayman.
An indictment is merely an accusation of criminal activity and does not constitute a conviction or admission of guilt.
Meanwhile, a November trial date has been set in the Mikkyle Brandon Leslie case.
The trial is now set for 13 November in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before US District Judge William Zloch.
Thursday’s arrest brings to six the total number of Cayman Islands residents who have been arrested or convicted in gun smuggling activities in connection with the ongoing US federal investigation. Four of the men were sentenced to prison in 2009 during an earlier investigation.
The new cases against Leslie and Henry have yet to be adjudicated.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the US District Court, Southern District of Florida back in December: “Mikkyle Leslie, aka Brandon Ebanks, aka Brandon Leslie, aka Kalishnikov, has been identified as the purchaser of at least nine firearms in the Broward and Miami-Dade County area and was the purchaser of a refrigerator shipped from Port Everglades, Broward County Florida and seized in Grand Cayman on 13 November, 2008
“At the time of the seizure of the refrigerator, the refrigerator was found to contain approximately five semi-automatic pistols, one of which had an obliterated serial number, approximately 800 rounds of ammunition in various calibres and firearm magazines.” The infamous “guns-in-fridge” court case here in the Cayman Islands led to the conviction of Michael Timothy Ebanks on importation of firearms charges. Ebanks is serving a five-year prison sentence.
However, US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents believe a number of other individuals were involved in the firearms import-export incidents from 2008-2009. Statements made in the probable cause document indicate the names of about a dozen individuals – most of whom are Caymanians – that were “identified as participants in the firearms smuggling activities”.