$400K ganja-importation trial begins

Police seized eight bags containing packages of ganja during Saturday morning's drug bust. - Photo: RCIPS

The trial of two men accused of importing 400 pounds of ganja began in the Summary Court on Monday, 24 Aug.

Eudis Swaby Gitierrez and Winston Clark Muller are charged with importation of ganja, and possession of ganja with intent to supply. The charges stem from a drug bust off North Side on 14 Sept. 2019.

Taking to the witness stand this morning to give his evidence, police officer Leon Andrews told the court he, along with three other officers with the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit, were on routine border and counter-narcotics patrol when they came across a vessel near North Side.

“It was about a little after 6am, when we spotted the boat,” said Andrews, who was captaining the unit’s MV M.Luke interceptor boat. “It was heading in a westerly direction parallel to the island, I decided to approach it, and as soon as I did the boat altered its course and sped away from the island.”

During the resulting high-speed boat chase, both the police and the suspects travelled in excess of 50knots. Andrews said after about 25 minutes, the suspects eventually responded to the officers’ signals for them to stop.

“I can only assume that upon realising that they could not outrun the patrol craft the occupants stopped the vessel they were in,” he told the court.

Andrews said when one of the officers boarded the boat, they found several Navy-blue bags that emitted “a strong smell of ganja”.

A statement that was originally sent out by the RCIPS said the ganja that was recovered had an estimated street retail value of $400,000.

“We took both men into custody, and towed the vessel back to shore where I examined two of the packages and found them to be dry and in good condition,” said Andrews, who would go on to identify Gitierrez and Muller as the men on the boat.

Gitierrez is represented by Lee Halliday-Davis, and Muller is represented by Jonathon Hughes. Both men deny the charges. Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson is the prosecutor.

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