Tourist brought in drugs without prescription

A tourist from Arizona was fined $1,250 on Thursday after pleading guilty to five charges of importing controlled drugs. Three charges were related to medications for which he had no prescription. Two were for ganja.

Mark Jonathan Stratford, 52, admitted to having the items when he came to Cayman on Dec. 23.

Crown counsel Neil Kumar said Stratford declared to Customs officers that he had wine and food stuffs. A further search of his luggage revealed six vials of a purified form of liquid ganja, 10 colorless capsules of a purified form of liquid ganja, three alprazolam tablets, six hydrocodone tablets and three diazepam tablets.

Mr. Kumar described two of the medications as pain killers.

All items were sent to a laboratory for analysis. The liquid ganja weighed one-10th of an ounce. The ganja in capsules weighed 4.44 grams.

The defendant was interviewed on Dec. 30, made admissions and was cooperative, Mr. Kumar summarized. He handed photographs of the items and certificates of analysis to Magistrate Grace Donalds.

She asked if Stratford had anything to say. He apologized to the court and to the Customs officers.

The magistrate imposed fines of $250 for each offense, for a total of $1,250.

Stratford had been bailed after posting a $1,000 bond for his appearance in court.

Customs officers said they would transfer the sum to the courts office, leaving him with a balance of $250 to pay.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.