16 months for possessing 104 pounds of ganja

16 months for possessing 104 pounds of ganja

A man who claimed he found packages of ganja while swimming was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment for possession of the drug with intent to supply.

Jason Orlando Arek Hydes, 30, pleaded guilty Monday to possessing 104 pounds of ganja with intent to supply, and possession of an unlicensed speargun.

Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson said police recovered the drugs in Windsor Park on Nov. 15 last year. In an interview the next day, Hydes said he found the packages while swimming off Manse Road, Bodden Town.

“That excuse isn’t something I find believable,” Magistrate Valdis Foldats said.

Mr. Ferguson told the court that police officers were acting on information received when they went to Hydes’s home in Windsor Park, George Town to conduct a search.

Asked if he had anything to declare before the search began, Hydes said he had about 35 pounds of ganja on the premises. Officers found two black suitcases containing packages of vegetable matter shaped like bricks, wrapped in duct tape. Ganja was also discovered in three garbage bags.

Mr. Ferguson said officers found the speargun lodged between a mattress and bed frame. When asked about it, Hydes replied, “I am Caymanian. That’s how I make my living.”

Mr. Brady asked the court to give Hydes full credit for his cooperation with police, and early admission.

The magistrate said he heard the view expressed time and time again that ganja should be decriminalized, as it is in various parts of the U.S. “But this is illegal in the Cayman Islands. If there is a law in place, you can’t just break it because you don’t believe in it,” he told Hydes.

The magistrate said he would give Hydes full credit for his guilty plea even though he had been caught red-handed, he said. With the one-third discount, the final sentence was 16 months.

He ordered a two-month sentence for the speargun offense, but ran one month concurrent with the drug sentence, for a total of 17 months. He also granted credit for time in custody since Hydes’s arrest.

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