Two men were remanded in custody on Wednesday for importation of a “small quantity” of ganja found aboard a vessel early Saturday morning.
Dencle Vic Barnes, of a Prospect address, and Marvin Campbell, of Westmoreland, Jamaica, appeared in Summary Court before Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez, who heard a bail application on behalf of Mr. Barnes.
Mr. Barnes is also charged with human smuggling, while Mr. Campbell is charged with illegal landing.
Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson said the incident leading to the men’s arrest began on Friday night, Dec. 22, when the police helicopter was patrolling the coast off Manse Road in Bodden Town shortly after 10:30 p.m. The crew saw two men in a 28-foot canoe powered by a 65-horsepower Yamaha engine. The marine unit subsequently intercepted the canoe. Mr. Barnes was piloting the boat, while Mr. Campbell was sitting near the front.
The vessel was towed to the Lobster Pot boat ramp, Mr. Ferguson said. A search revealed a parcel containing about five pounds of ganja. Other items included three cellphones, a GPS and a night vision device.
A press release from police about the incident stated that shoreline, air and water searches were carried out on Saturday morning, but “further parcels that may have been dumped overboard were not recovered.”
Mr. Ferguson said Mr. Barnes had left Cayman for Kingston on Nov. 29 and there was no record of his returning.
The men were interviewed and Mr. Campbell gave an account that essentially amounted to an admission, Mr. Ferguson said. Mr. Barnes said he went to Jamaica to purchase the boat. He said he needed someone to operate the boat and he was going to pay $1,500. He said he was going to clear Customs and Immigration, but was intercepted before he could do so.
Mr. Ferguson said this defendant had 14 previous convictions related to drugs.
Defense attorney John Furniss said he was aware of his client’s previous history and his position as owner and captain of the boat. He called the ganja “a very small quantity” and pointed out that it was found next to Mr. Campbell’s clothes.
The attorney suggested that a condition of bail could be that Mr. Barnes “not go boating” while the matter was before the court.
In denying bail, the magistrate said it was not the amount that concerned her, but the charge itself – importation. Defense attorney Prathna Bodden did not make a bail application for Mr. Campbell.
The matter was set for mention again on Tuesday, Jan. 16.