Four Jamaican men pleaded guilty on Wednesday to possession of ganja after 454.41 pounds of the drug were seized after police intercepted their boat at sea.
The charges were brought under a section of the Misuse of Drugs Law dealing with controlled drugs aboard a ship.
The men entered individual guilty pleas when the charge was put: that, being a person on a ship not registered in any country, he was knowingly concerned in the carrying or concealing of controlled drugs. Specifically, each man knew or had reasonable grounds to suspect that, on Sept. 6, the vessel was 27 miles southeast of Grand Cayman with ganja that was intended to be imported into the Cayman Islands.
The defendants were Martin Anthony Trench, 32; Kendale Jerome Straumann, 31; Andre Junior Russell, 33; and Basil Anthony Smith, 45. Mr. Trench is from Hanover. The others are from Westmoreland.
They were originally charged with importing ganja, but that charge was withdrawn after pleas were entered to the new charge.
Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson asked Magistrate Grace Donalds to order that the ganja be forfeited to the Crown. He said it needed to be destroyed because it was attracting vermin. The magistrate made the order.
A press release issued after the men’s arrest indicated that officers of the Air Operations and Joint Marine Units were conducting border patrols when they spotted a vessel acting suspiciously. On approach, the officers observed men on board throwing packages overboard. The packages were retrieved and the men taken into custody.
On Wednesday, defense attorney Amelia Fosuhene asked for social inquiry reports for the defendants, noting that they had not been to Cayman before. She said each had a different attorney who would want to speak in mitigation.
The magistrate set the matter for Dec. 5.