Men sentenced in million-dollar drug seizure

Two men caught with more than 1,000 pounds of ganja were imprisoned Wednesday for six years.

Rovan Pemo Johnson, 33, and Albert Ray Campbell, 59, both of Westmoreland, Jamaica, were caught with 1,035 pounds of ganja on 24 July this year, when they were intercepted by the Joint Marine Unit 38 nautical miles east of Grand Cayman after their boat engine died.

Although the men were initially charged with possession of ganja, they were eventually charged with illicit trafficking.

During an initial sentencing submission, Crown prosecutor Kenneth Ferguson urged Justice Marlene Carter not to grant the defendants a full one-third discount for their guilty pleas.

“They were caught red-handed with the drugs in the boat,” said Ferguson. “The evidence was so overwhelming against them that they had no other reasonable option but to plead guilty.”

Defence attorney Oliver Grimwood argued to the contrary and encouraged the court to give a full discount.

“Mr. Johnson and Mr. Campbell undertook the most amount of risk for the least amount of reward,” said Grimwood. “Both men cooperated with authorities and entered guilty pleas despite having the option to plead otherwise. We say the message this court needs to send is that it will reward people who, knowing their guilt, prevents the court from having to go down the route of an expensive trial.”

Justice Carter imposed an initial sentence of eight years in prison, then applied a 20% discount for the guilty plea. She further reduced the sentence to six years to reflect the men’s lack of previous convictions.

An initial police statement valued the drug bust at $1 million.