Three men arrested in March for importation of 313 pounds of ganja and firearms will now be also charged with possession of cocaine, Crown counsel Garcia Kelly said on Wednesday.

The defendants, all Jamaican nationals, have already pleaded guilty to importation and possession with intent to supply the ganja. They are Assad Walker, 58; Owen Reid, 37; and Fitzroy Ottey, 41.

When they were first brought to court after their arrest on March 2, the Crown indicated that a .38-caliber revolver and 49 rounds of ammunition had been recovered from one of the ganja parcels. Charges relating to the firearms had not been brought at that stage. When they were brought later, the men elected to have them heard in Grand Court.

At another Summary Court appearance in May, new charges were laid for being concerned in the importation of, and possessing with intent to supply, the drug MDMA, known as ecstasy, in the quantity of 49.3 grams (1.7 ounces). All three men pleaded not guilty to these charges in June.

On Wednesday, the men were before Magistrate Grace Donalds for a scheduled preliminary inquiry so that matters could proceed to the Grand Court. It had been expected that the inquiry would have been agreed to on the basis of papers already reviewed by defense attorneys.

Mr. Kelly noted that the original ruling in the matter was that the men were to be charged with possession of cocaine, so nobody should have been taken by surprise.

He said he had questioned the officer in the case as to why that charge was not on the file. He said he was told that the problem would be corrected.

Defense attorney Prathna Bodden, on behalf of Mr. Reid, asked for the preliminary inquiry to be long form – that is, with witnesses giving evidence in person.

“My instructions are clear – that there was no knowledge of anything on the boat other than ganja,” she said.

There was no mention of the quantity of cocaine alleged.

The matter was set for Tuesday, July 17. Attorneys expressed the hope that the relevant charges could be before the Grand Court on Friday, July 20. Mr. Walker was represented by attorney Neil Kumar. Mr. Ottey’s attorney is Jonathon Hughes.

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