Three Jamaican nationals appeared in Summary Court on Monday charged with being concerned in the importation of approximately 313 pounds of ganja.
One of them, Assad Adana Walker, 58, has been convicted in Cayman twice previously. He was sentenced in 2000 to three years for importing ganja. He was sentenced again in 2005 to 12 years’ imprisonment for being concerned in the possession of some 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of ganja with intent to supply. That offense was committed in 2003 and he had been in custody while awaiting sentence.
The Misuse of Drugs Law provides for a maximum sentence of seven years for a first offense involving ganja; the maximum for a second or subsequent offense is 15 years.
With Mr. Walker in the dock were Owen Omar Reid, 37, and Fitzroy Ottey, 41.
Mr. Walker is from Westmoreland, while the other men are from Hanover.
Defense attorney Jonathon Hughes told Magistrate Valdis Foldats that he did not have any papers in the case and would not be making any bail application.
The magistrate remanded the men in custody until March 12, noting that they had no legal right to be on the island.
A press release from police indicated that all three were arrested on suspicion of importing ganja and illegal landing, but no immigration charges were brought to court on Monday. It also stated that a .38 caliber revolver and 49 rounds of ammunition were recovered, but no firearm charges were before the court at this time.
A summary of the incident in the release stated that the men were seen aboard a canoe just after 12 a.m. on Friday, March 2. They were chased by the crew of a Joint Marine Unit that was on border protection patrol.
“The men tried to evade capture by speeding off; however, they were later spotted by the Air Operations Unit who saw the men throwing packages overboard. Following a short pursuit, officers aboard the JMU vessel intercepted the canoe and detained the men. A search of the area was conducted and several packages containing ganja were recovered,” the release stated.
It was during a search of the packages that the handgun and ammunition were found.
The ganja was initially estimated to weigh around 250 pounds. That quantity, with a minimum street value of $650 per pound, would be worth $162,500, police said. The higher weight at that rate would be worth $203,450.
The men are also charged with possession of ganja with intent to supply.