Sailors didn't know Cayman drug laws

Two crew members from a vessel that stopped for repairs in Cayman found themselves in court this week on drug charges.

Johannes Wiggins, 30, and Ryan Meyers, 24, pleaded guilty to consuming ganja, possession of a little under 2 ounces of ganja, plus possession of scissors and papers used in the consumption of ganja.

Each was fined $1,000 and their request to have no convictions recorded was denied. Meyers, an American citizen, told Magistrate Valdis Foldats that they were moving a boat from Belize to St. Martin when it broke down. They had come to Cayman to fix it, but were unable to do so. They had planned to fly out this week, while someone else would be flying in to make the necessary repairs.

The men readily admitted their offending, but the magistrate said there was nothing he could do until the Crown received the files in the case. He directed them to return on Wednesday.

On that day, they appeared before Magistrate Grace Donalds, who formally put the charges to them and recorded their guilty pleas. Crown counsel Candia James advised that the men hoped to leave the island that afternoon and explained the background to the charges.

She said Customs officers were checking vessels at Scott’s Marina at the George Town Barcadere on May 29. One of the officers noticed a spliff in the water and then saw two males coming out of a nearby bush area. One of them was holding a pair of scissors.

The officers observed vegetable matter on one of the blades of the scissors and it smelled of ganja.

A K-9 team checked the bush area where the men had been and a plastic bag was found. That bag had another bag inside and both contained vegetable matter that was later tested to be 20 grams and 1.2 ounces.

Both men apologized for any inconvenience they had caused. They said they did not know Cayman’s laws.

Wiggins, a citizen of South Africa, thanked the Customs officers for their courteous treatment. He asked if they could have no convictions recorded because convictions could hurt their career.

A man in the court gallery identified himself as the boat captain. He described both defendants as good guys who had not been in trouble before. He said they might lose their jobs as a result of this incident. “We were not aware of the laws and rules here,” he told the court.

The magistrate imposed the same fines for each defendant: $250 for consuming ganja; $250 for joint possession of the scissors; $500 for possession of the larger quantity of ganja; no separate penalties for possession of the cigarette papers or the smaller quantity of ganja. The drugs and utensils were ordered forfeited.

Wiggins asked if their bail bonds could be used for the fines. He was told yes. The court heard that each man had been bailed in the sum of US$1,000, while the fines were in Cayman currency.


  1. The two men were not aware of the laws here, where are these two living in this world. My first trip of the Island to Honduras in 1970 , I knew then that it would be a crime to take ganja into another country I didn’t read up on their laws . Why would the Judge allow them to use their bail bonds to pay their fines. Good right Cayman is in so much debt.

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