Drug-smuggling trio sentenced

On 14 March 2018, police seized several bags and packages that contained more than 300 pounds of ganja, 101 grammes of cocaine and 49.3 grams of ecstasy. - Photo: RCIPS

Three men caught with a loaded gun and hundreds of pounds of ganja, as well as cocaine and ecstasy, were sentenced in the Grand Court Friday.

In March last year, Jamaican nationals Assad Adana Walker, Fitzroy Ottey and Owen Omar Reid were arrested after marine police saw them throw packages overboard from their canoe.

The recovered packages contained 300 pounds of ganja, 101 grams of cocaine, 49.3 grams of MDMA (ecstasy), a .38 Smith & Wesson handgun and 49 rounds of ammunition.

The men initially pleaded guilty to the importation and possession of the drugs but denied knowledge of the handgun.

The drug smuggling trio’s initial Grand Court trial in March this year was called off after Acting Justice Marlene Carter said the matter could not proceed. A retrial in September was also called off after the men changed their pleas.

Reid, 38, the youngest of the three, was sentenced to three years in prison for the gun and drug charges. Ottey, 43, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for the gun and drug charges. Walker, 60, who was considered the captain of the vessel and the leader of the group, is a repeat offender, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

This was the first time that Reid and Ottey were convicted and sentenced for crimes in Cayman. However, in 2003 and in 2005, Walker was sentenced to three years and 12 years, respectively, for drug-related charges in Cayman.

Each of the defendants expressed dire financial need as a reason for their role in committing the crime, said Justice Frank Williams, while sentencing the men via video link.

“Walker is no stranger to Cayman’s judiciary,” the judge said. “He has displayed a blatant disregard for Cayman’s immigration law and exhibits a pro-criminal attitude.”

Justice Williams ordered that the time the men spent in custody be deducted from their sentence.