Two Department of Immigration staffers were convicted Wednesday of possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn found Stephen Wayne Hurlston and Oscar Lee Watler, both currently employed by the Department of Immigration, guilty on multiple counts and ordered them remanded into custody.
Mr. Hurlston and Mr. Watler were also convicted of possession of a utensil used in the preparation of a controlled drug. They will be back in court for their sentencing date on June 28.
Magistrate Gunn read out the facts of the case before announcing her verdict.
A police officer approached Mr. Hurlston and Mr. Watler in October 2015 while they were parked in a secluded lot near Patrick’s Island. Magistrate Gunn said the police officer testified that he found multiple packages of cocaine, a scale and a razor blade before arresting Mr. Hurlston and Mr. Watler.
The largest package of cocaine – found underneath the parked vehicle – weighed 1.61 pounds, and the two men were also found to be in possession of two smaller quantities of the substance.
Magistrate Gunn said that defense attorney Richard Barton had sought to prove reasonable doubt by pointing out that neither defendant’s DNA was found on the packages of cocaine. The defense also noted that no significant quantities of cash were found on the defendants or at their homes.
The magistrate noted the “close proximity” of the defendants to the packages of cocaine and said the only reasonable conclusion was that the drugs were being prepared for supply. Magistrate Gunn also said that she found the testimony of the police officer to be largely consistent and credible.
The magistrate denied bail to Mr. Hurlston and Mr. Watler and said that the pair will face “very significant custodial sentences” that made her “very concerned they will now abscond.”
Bruce Smith, the acting chief immigration officer for the Department of Immigration, clarified the pair’s employment status for the Cayman Compass in an email. “They remain employed with the Department,” said Mr. Smith of Mr. Hurlston and Mr. Watler, adding that “all appropriate steps regarding their employment will be considered going forward.”