The lengthy jury trial of David Karl Lobo, a customs agent accused of being concerned in the importation of cocaine, wrapped up Thursday morning.
Justice Linda Dobbs summarized the testimony of various witnesses who had appeared during the trial, which began on Dec. 10, and instructed the jury to do its best to reach a unanimous verdict. The jury of five women and two men were given the case at 10:40 a.m. to begin their deliberations. By press time Thursday afternoon, they had not reached a verdict.
Justice Dobbs ran through the testimony of several witnesses, including the defendant and his alleged co-conspirators Lesme Perez Ruiz and Alan Taylor Dominguez.
Mr. Dominguez, said Justice Dobbs, had originally planned to plead not guilty, but then he elected to acknowledge his guilt once he saw the full extent of the crown’s case. Mr. Dominguez testified that he had met with Mr. Perez Ruiz and Mr. Lobo inside prison and discussed their cases, and he said that Mr. Lobo had attempted to change his plea.
Justice Dobbs reminded the jury that defense attorney Amelia Fosuhene called the veracity of Mr. Dominguez’s testimony into question.
Mr. Lobo’s testimony from both the various police interviews and his time on the witness stand were also summarized by Justice Dobbs. Mr. Lobo had steadfastly and consistently denied involvement in any drug deals, said Justice Dobbs, and he told police that he had been introduced to Mr. Perez Ruiz by Mr. Dominguez.
The defendant admitted that he had sent multiple wire transfers to Mr. Perez Ruiz, and he also said that he had visited Mr. Perez Ruiz at his hotel several times.
Mr. Lobo maintained during his testimony that he was interested in buying gold statues from Mr. Perez Ruiz that he believed were “national treasures,” and he said that they would be considered antiques here in Cayman even if they had been stolen.
The defendant was also asked about receiving images of what appeared to be drugs on his cellphone, and he said, “You can’t control what people send you on their phone.”
Mr. Lobo admitted bringing Mr. Perez Ruiz items such as castor oil and a digital scale, but he said he believed they would be used to prepare the statues for sale.
Justice Dobbs summarized portions of the cross-examination of Mr. Lobo by Patrick Moran, acting director of public prosecutions. Answering Mr. Moran’s allegations that he had taken cocaine to New York to sell it, Mr. Lobo claimed he made a trip there to get engaged. He admitted he had not mentioned the event in police interviews and did not have photos of the occasion in his phone.
Mr. Lobo also testified that despite the images sent to him by the smugglers, he had pictures of drug seizures from all over the Caribbean due to his position as a customs officer. “I was used by these individuals,” said Mr. Lobo.
Justice Dobbs told the jury that the crown would like them to consider the content and frequency of communications between Mr. Lobo and his alleged conspirators, the money transfers between them, and the amount of cash found on Mr. Lobo at the time of his arrest. The defense, meanwhile, would stress the importance of the burden of proof and would allege that the facts of the crown’s case are open to interpretation.