NEW: 16 years for importing cocaine

Former Customs officer David Karl Lobo was sentenced in Grand Court on Friday to 16 years’ imprisonment for his role in a cocaine importation ring that brought 1.8 kilograms into Cayman in June of 2017.

Justice Linda Dobbs found that Lobo, who had communicated with the smugglers prior to their arrival and helped arrange for their accommodations, had played a “leading role” in the operation.

Lobo was convicted of importation of cocaine following a lengthy jury trial that ended in January, and Justice Dobbs said Friday that he had attempted to purchase the drugs and profit from them. His position as Customs officer at the time of the incident, said Justice Dobbs, could lead to a “diminished trust” by the public in government institutions.

Justice Dobbs also sentenced Lesme Perez Ruiz and Alan Taylor Dominguez, both of whom were characterised as “middle man” in the transaction. Both Ruiz and Dominguez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and importing cocaine and provided evidence that helped convict Lobo.

Justice Dobbs noted that both defendants had provided “significant assistance” to the crown. Ruiz was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, while Dominguez received a four-year sentence.

Jose Leonardo Parra Ferrini and Yoandry Morales Molina – who pleaded guilty to ingesting condoms full of cocaine and expelling them upon arrival in Cayman – were both sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

Justice Dobbs said that time served in prison would count against the sentences for each of the defendants. She also ruled that Lobo would receive no credit for roughly a year spent at home on an ankle monitor and nightly curfew while waiting for the trial to be conducted.

Collector of Customs Charles Clifford told the Compass that Lobo’s employment with the Customs Department was terminated on Friday.

For more on this story, see Monday’s Cayman Compass.

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