Three men found in a Jamaican canoe with ganja last year were sentenced on Thursday to 32 months’ imprisonment.
Andrew Folkes, 45; Charles Rose, 40; and Marvin Brown, 34; pleaded guilty to being concerned with the importation of 424.01 pounds of ganja. All three were from the Westmoreland area of Jamaica.
A revolver and five rounds of ammunition were found aboard their Jamaican canoe, but all three men denied knowledge or possession. Firearms charges were sent to Grand Court for trial. After forensic examination did not disclose fingerprints or DNA, the Crown offered no evidence and the drug charge was returned to Summary Court for sentencing.
Magistrate Philippa McFarlane heard that Cayman’s air operation unit was conducting a border patrol on Grand Cayman’s south coast around 10 p.m. on March 14, 2018. In the area of Bel Air Drive, officers observed a red and blue Jamaican canoe with three men on board. On seeing the helicopter, the men sped off through the channel while the helicopter team contacted the joint marine unit. The canoe came into contact with the police vessel, causing the three men to be thrown into the water. They were rescued and detained.
At the sentencing hearing, attorneys Prathna Bodden, Jonathon Hughes and Crister Brady spoke of the defendants’ financial hardships in Jamaica, their previous good character and their early acceptance of guilt for the ganja.
The maximum sentence for a first offense involving the soft drug is seven years.
Given the quantity of drugs, the magistrate set her starting point at 48 months or four years. She did not find any significant difference in the men’s roles and so treated them all as crewmen. Giving a full one-third discount for their guilty pleas, she arrived at the sentence of 32 months. Time in custody will count. The magistrate also ordered the boat to be forfeited and the ganja destroyed.