Customs officer David Karl Lobo had bail withheld on Monday when he appeared in Summary Court on a charge of being concerned in the importation of 1.814 kilograms of cocaine.
The offense is alleged to have occurred between May 1 and June 3 this year. The charge names Lobo and four other men, including Alan Taylor Dominguez. A further charge against Lobo is conspiracy to import a controlled drug between March 30 and May 20 this year. The alleged conspiracy is with “others,” who are not named. The drug is not specified.
Defense attorney Amelia Fosuhene elaborated on what Lobo had told police when questioned – that he was negotiating for the importation of Colombian artifacts.
She told Magistrate Valdis Foldats that Lobo had been suspended from work because of this matter and he was completing studies for his degree during this time. “He has five weeks left,” she said in her application for bail.
Crown counsel Neil Kumar objected to the granting of bail. He said police went to an apartment on West Bay Road on Friday, June 2, and found three men and a substantial quantity of cocaine. It appeared that the premises was being used for a drug smuggling operation. It had been rented short-term, from May 31 to June 4.
He said two men had ingested condoms filled with liquid cocaine before traveling to Cayman and the apartment was being used to convert the liquid to powder for onward distribution. The stove was on and a creamy substance was being heated, Mr. Kumar reported. The substance later proved to be cocaine. The three men were cautioned and interviewed with the assistance of an officer who spoke with them in Spanish.
One of the men made admissions, suggesting that David Lobo was involved.
Lobo was arrested shortly after he was seen outside the apartment. He explained that he was a customs officer and was at the location because he had dropped off his friend’s wife, who had just come in on a flight. Someone in the apartment provided her with car keys and then he left, Lobo said. He also mentioned statues someone had brought for him and said he had castor oil to clean them.
Mr. Kumar told the court that analysis of Lobo’s phone had revealed photos of passports of two men who had served as drug couriers.
Lobo was interviewed again and said he was negotiating for the import of Colombian gold artifacts.
Ms. Fosuhene said she had been present at all of Lobo’s interviews and he had always answered questions, not knowing what the police could or could not prove. Inside the apartment with the drugs were statues Lobo had negotiated for, she pointed out.
The magistrate asked if it were “bad luck” that the people Lobo was dealing with for art happened to be couriers of drugs.
Ms. Fosuhene said one had to consider the fuller picture.
Lobo was friends with Alan Laurems Taylor Dominguez, whose wife Lobo had dropped off at the apartment.
Dominguez has since pleaded guilty to his involvement in cocaine importation, Mr. Kumar told the court.
The magistrate said he was not looking at guilt or innocence in a bail hearing. From what he had been told, the conspiracy was sophisticated and well-resourced. He denied bail and set the matter for mention again on Nov. 28.