Three men who have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs appeared in Grand Court last week.
Ian Neil Duncan faces six charges of conspiring with Alexander Adrian Ebanks to supply drugs between Aug. 14 and Sept. 10, 2015.
Wayne Carlos Myles faces two similar charges of conspiracy with Ebanks, one in August and one in September of 2015.
Ukel Dixon has one charge against him that spans the period between Sept. 19 and Oct. 22, 2015.
In opening the case last week, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran told the jury that criminal conspiracy is no more than an agreement to commit a crime. Supplying controlled drugs is a criminal offense: “It doesn’t matter whether they are sold, shared or given away,” he pointed out.
Evidence implicating the three defendants comes from mobile telephone records, Mr. Moran said, and their arrests stemmed from the arrest of Ebanks on Oct. 22, 2015.
On that morning, police attended a George Town apartment complex and arrested Ebanks on suspicion of involvement with drugs. In searching his apartment, officers found several thousand dollars worth of cocaine, three sets of digital scales, small plastic bags, a small quantity of ganja and some mobile phones.
Later analysis of his phone communications – including messages, calls and photos – indicated “a great deal of supply of controlled drugs” in the four months before Ebanks’s arrest, Mr. Moran said. He explained that subsequently Ebanks pleaded guilty to offenses involving supply of drugs and he was dealt with by the court. In the present trial, Ebanks is neither a defendant nor a witness for the prosecution, Mr. Moran advised.
Analysis of Ebanks’s phone messages was carried out by intelligence analyst Joanne Delaney of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. She found that during the four-month period before his arrest, Ebanks had more than 50 different customers on the island.
A number of people appeared to be buying significant quantities. They would place their order by phone and it would be delivered to them at various locations, not always by Ebanks, the court heard.
The Crown’s case was that defendant Duncan was a frequent customer who appeared to be buying for onward sale for profit.
Mr. Moran said the evidence would show that Myles was a supplier also, but purchasing larger quantities than Duncan.
In Dixon’s case, the Crown contends that this defendant regularly acted as a “runner” – a delivery man, and it would appear that he would collect payment from customers required to pay up front.
Jurors received binders of documents that included phone records, so that they could follow what Mr. Moran called patterns in conversations between Ebanks’s phone and phones ascribed to one or other of the defendants.
Very few of the communications contained the word “ganja” or “cocaine,” the prosecutor noted. A regular buyer would not think it necessary to refer by name to what was wanted and it would be foolish to do so, he said. References were typically to a price or a weight – “2 for 75” or “gram” or “quarter,” he gave as examples.
During the trial, a special agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will provide assistance to jurors as to whether various words in the phone messages were associated with the drug trade, Mr. Moran said.
He read several conversations from Ebanks’s phone. One conversation started at 3:08 a.m. with a WhatsApp message from someone referred to as Chris, explaining where the person is and what is wanted. Ebanks then makes a call to the phone ascribed to Dixon. Thirteen seconds after the call to Dixon’s phone, Ebanks is sending a message to Chris.
Ms. Delaney began her evidence on Friday, explaining that every mobile phone or handset has a unique identification number. If the owner wants to use the phone on a network, such as FLOW or Digicel, he or she gets a SIM card from the service provider, and that card is associated with a phone number. Each SIM card also has a unique identification number, she pointed out.
Data stored on the handset can be downloaded, she added. Her analysis began with data downloaded from Ebanks’s phone. Ms. Delaney was scheduled to continue her evidence on Monday.