Two Cayman Airways employees arrested in drug probes

Two Cayman Airways employees have been arrested within the past month in relation to ongoing drug investigations.

Criminal information filed with the U.S. District Court in Miami Monday suggests in at least one of the cases, there was an ongoing conspiracy to smuggle ganja into the Cayman Islands from south Florida for the last several months.

The first arrests occurred April 29 as the CAL employee, Corey James Miller, and another man, Kelven Claret, were arrested on the jetway of a Cayman Airways flight due to leave Miami.

The second arrest happened Monday, May 14 in Grand Cayman and involved a different CAL employee, as well as a local customs officer on suspicion of conspiracy to import ganja into the Cayman Islands. No charges had been filed in connection with the Monday arrests and Customs Collector Charles Clifford clarified Tuesday that separate CAL workers had been arrested on the different dates.

“The customs officer and Cayman Airways employee that were arrested in Grand Cayman [Monday] are not the same two people that were arrested in Miami previously,” Mr. Clifford said.

Mr. Clifford did not state whether the arrests were related to the same probe or different matters.

All four people were arrested for drugs-related offenses. Details of the April 29 arrests and charges were revealed in publicly available U.S. court records.

According to a criminal complaint filed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer Gerald McNeil, both Mr. Miller and Mr. Claret were leaving Miami on CAL flight 103 on April 29.

After the men checked in at the airline ticket counter, their three suitcases were inspected by U.S. Transportation Security Agency officers.

“TSA inspectors discovered several packages of a brownish, leafy substance concealed inside three boxes of laundry detergent,” the criminal complaint stated, adding the estimated weight of the substance, which field-tested as ganja was 2.94 kilograms [about 6.5 pounds].

Both men were stopped on the airline jetway and taken in for questioning.

According to the criminal complaint: “Kelven Claret admitted that Corey James Miller had recruited him to smuggle the marijuana into Grand Cayman Islands from Miami. Claret also admitted that Corey James Miller paid him US$2,000 in advance and was going to pay him another US$2,000 upon his arrival to the Grand Cayman Islands for smuggling the marijuana.”

Investigators stated they had obtained a Western Union receipt for a US$2,000 payment to Mr. Claret from Mr. Miller in Mr. Claret’s “personal effects.”

The criminal information document filed Monday in the U.S. court indicated that Mr. Claret and Mr. Miller began the scheme to ship ganja to Cayman sometime in January and that the two conspired “with each other and with others known and unknown to the United States Attorney” to export ganja from the U.S. to Cayman.

Mr. Miller was held in the U.S. for further court proceedings and was due to be arraigned Tuesday morning. According to court records from the Tuesday hearing, he was scheduled for a “change of plea” hearing on May 18 in the U.S. court.