Third bullet in two months found at airport

A visitor to Grand Cayman was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm for a bullet discovered in his luggage, the third such incident on island since May 1.

Wilmer Lobo Alvarez’s family vacation was delayed after customs officers found a bullet in his luggage at Owen Roberts International Airport, Magistrate Grace Donalds heard in Summary Court on Tuesday.

Alvarez, 36, pleaded guilty, stating that he is the holder of a firearm license in Honduras, and that he did not realize the bullet was still in the bag when he brought it with him. He apologized to Magistrate Donalds and to the court, saying it was never his intention to jeopardize any lives.

Alvarez was ordered to pay a fine of $750 or serve two months in prison. A customs officer advised the court that Alverez’s bail had been set at US$1,250, so the money being held could be used to pay his fine. Alvarez, a Honduran national, does not speak English, so a customs officer acted as a translator.

He was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm after one .40 caliber round was discovered in his hand luggage on Monday, July 6. Cayman’s firearms law includes ammunition in its definition of a firearm.

Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson said Alvarez was en route from Honduras to Miami via Grand Cayman when the bullet was found in Alvarez’s hand luggage on the conveyor belt for an X-ray. Workers from Flowers Air Dispatch Service noticed a suspiciously shaped object.

Mr. Ferguson said a customs officer was summoned and advised of the discovery and escorted Alvarez to the search room.