Caymanian businessman jailed for 9 years in drug conspiracy

| 26/06/2015 | 101 Comments
Cayman News Service

Bryce Merren, serving a 9-year jail sentence in Puerto Rico (Photo: Image by Spike)

(CNS): Bryce Merren has been handed a more than nine-year prison term for his part in a foiled drug conspiracy in Puerto Rico. The local businessman, who was arrested following a sting operation, has also been fined $75,000. Merren, who has been on remand in the US territory for around 15 months, was given a sentence at the high range of expectations, sources tell CNS, despite the guilty pleas and alleged cooperation with US law enforcement.

It is also understood that as the 48-year-old Caymanian is serving time in US territory, he can expect to serve at least 85% of the lengthy term.

Merren, who admitted conspiracy to distribute narcotics, was arrested in March 2014 after he was netted by undercover agents posing as drug traffickers. Merren agreed to set up a smuggling ring and told the undercover agents that he could access businesses in the Cayman Islands and the wider Caribbean to launder money made from the cocaine. The undercover agents said that Merren tried to buy over 3,000 kilos of Cocaine.

During the sentencing hearing yesterday in San Juan, presided over by Judge Carmen Cerezo, pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears.

A letter filed with the court and seen by CNS described Merren as a “hard working, loving and dedicated person”. The character references relate how he rescued unconscious fellow travelers in a light aircraft crash when he pulled them from the plane before it exploded, and his heroics and generosity as a community stalwart during Hurricane Ivan in  September 2004. Pleading for his release, the letter indicates that Merren has shown remorse for his crime and taken his time in jail so far very seriously.

Merren has served most of his time on remand in San Juan, except for a brief period where he was transported to an undisclosed location in the US. It is not certain if he will continue to serve his time in the US territory of Puerto Rico or whether he will be seeking a transfer to the US mainland.


Category: Courts, Crime, USA, World News

Comments (101)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    One can only wonder if any of the friends and associates of Bryce Merren will have any fear about traveling to the US in the future. It may end up being a longer stay than they planned.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t despair…U.S. Homeland Security will do their job well. ‘The Rock’ can be a big bore at times, so the suspects will be inclined to travel to the U.S., at their own risk.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If anyone out there doesn’t realize the singing done to receive such a light sentence then they need to rethink this story. Bryce Merren sang like Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow” to get off with only 9 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hahaha…a perfect choice of song. He’s in reality looking at 4-6 years in jail, and spent 15 months prosecuting his case. Between the plea deals, evidence on record, and open investigations there’s good reason for him receiving such a light sentence.
      Sing, Bryce– Sing!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bryce can now legally get married Just sayin


    Anyone recall how much information the FBI learned from Frank Abagnale, Jr.? (Tom Hanks/Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Catch Me If You Can?”)

    For the entire 2013 year, only 5.5 kilos of cocaine were confiscated. What a disgrace when compared to Bryce’s ONE transaction of 3,000 kilos of cocaine that was only but ONE drug deal by ONE admitted player in ONE month of ONE year! What came through our ports the other 364 days??? DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTION, WHERE ARE YOU?

    You mean to tell me that our lawmakers can’t shift some of that billion dollar revenue over to the enforcers and the judiciary, so that they can effectively crack down and give Cayman a NEW reputation as a hostile environment for drug traffickers like Singapore has?

    Anyone caught with over half an ounce of cocaine in Singapore is defined by law as a drug trafficker, where they hang! You think Bryce would’ve entertained a deal like this if our lawmakers put similar language on our books? Pure respect! There’s no more death penalty anymore, but it would surely give pause and make them think twice about breaking the law here!

    And what about Vietnam, who punishes drug users and drug traffickers by sending them to forced rehabilitation centers? Only thing is that these rehabs offer no real chance for people to change or get treated. Instead, they are subjected to torture, violence, forced labour and harsh discipline. ATTORNEY GENERAL, WHERE ARE YOU?

    The time for venting was yesterday. The time for change is today. Why isn’t a Diplomatic Administrative Hold faxed over to Bryce’s prison to start proceedings against him right now while he is in prison over there so that he can face local charges now, either telephonically or by video link? And in 2021, he can come here and face the music if in fact Bryce’s initial investment into this enterprise originated from a wire transfer from a bank account in the Cayman Islands? BAINES, WHERE ARE YOU?

    Any other country involved that want him to address his actions after he finishes his time in the US and in Cayman can stand in line and wait!

    • Anonymous says:

      Finally something logical

    • Anonymous says:

      You can call for justice on a local level, but no one’s listening. Cayman don’t prosecute big wigs. Crime is permitted at the higher levels. So, make sure you are in the right (social) stratification when you decide to commit an offense.

      • You can't be serious says:

        Wait…so are you trying to say that the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions would just sit on their hands and do NOTHING? I mean, the US has already basically done their job for them by securing a confession and a conviction in another jurisdiction, and the proceeds of this illegal transaction originated from a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Any first year law student could run circles around this one!

        All they need to do at this point is take not even 2 hours to draft up the paperwork and make the necessary calls. They wouldn’t even have to leave the island.

        I find that pretty incredible to take the position that none of these three officials would DO THEIR JOB to assist in securing our borders.

  5. coprophagiac says:

    Another victim of the stupid and ineffective “War on Drugs”.

  6. If Jesus said it, it's good enough for me! says:

    John 8: 7-11

    7-When the Pharisees kept on questioning Jesus, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    8-Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

    9-At this those who heard began to go away one at a time, the oldest ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

    10-Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

    11-“No one, Sir,” she said.
    “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    So yes, wayward son, do your time, come home and leave your life of sin behind you. Despite owning up to your past and getting beyond the hate talk, know that you are still loved. This will never change.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is it that when a Jamaican, Honduran, Canadian, American,…… does something wrong in Cayman the cry is deport them, they are evil. Yet when a Caymanian is involved we get quotes from the scripture justifying forgiveness. I didn’t realize Jesus distinguished between expats and Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bcuz we blood and belong here. Like arguing with family, but dont make a non belonger try it. Teeth and tongue will fall out, but blood is thicker than water

    • Judean People's Front says:

      I don’t know what stoning you were at, but the last one I went to didn’t run that smooth!

  7. Run go tell dat to the Grammar Police! says:

    @Anonymous 22/06/2015 at 1:54pm,

    Bobo, you betta leewe dem edumacated Caymanians alone!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The pathetic support on this thread for this drug pusher because people know him or his family shows how hard it is to get a Cayman jury to convict a prominent local even in the face of bullet proof evidence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but there’s no corruption here, so what’s your point?


      The “pathetic support” you speak of is light years away from a Cayman jury conviction of a prominent local. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

      You are confusing “pathetic support” with people who are more evolved in their belief system. I did not see any comments from these so-called “pathetic supporters” condoning whatever actions Bryce might have had with conspiring or drug trafficking.

      However, the problem with some primitive thinking people in society is that they try to continue to punish ex-offenders long after they’ve apologised, made amends, paid their restitution, served out their sentence, paid their debt to society and changed their ways!

      And if you don’t see it in your neck of the woods, there are countless TV shows where hardened teenagers and adults are SCARED STRAIGHT, never again to return to a life of crime.

      One of the most noteworthy that comes to mind is Judge Mathis, who also was arrested as a juvenile and a self-described bad ass. Yet he was able to have his “ah-ha moment”, pass the bar exam, became a lawyer, then a judge, and has connected with countless inner city youths as a mentor, turning scores of would be criminals away from a life of crime as well.

      There is nothing becoming of the people who are posting these blood thirsty comments against Bryce. I am done here on this Mickey Mouse thread.

      • Hitler was someone’s child, too. That doesn’t mean Bryce doesn’t deserve justice for his crimes, of which he’s pleaded guilty. He’s a high end drug dealer. His cocaine could have ruined lives, ruined marriages or even killed people. And you want to defend him why? Because he has a mother? Because he’s Caymanian? Please do leave this Mickey Mouse thread; have fun in Disney Land.

    • Anonymous says:

      ….and why Legge was right about corruption

    • We are only human with a modicum of decency says:

      No, I don’t agree. People posting all these personal attacks and hate talk on CNS about Bryce appears to have the unintended consequence of others cringing at all the bullying, which in turn is then called “pathetic support”.

      You alienate more people this way with all the vile remarks.

  9. Anonymous says:

    After Bryce’s “singspiration” and Jeff Webb’s “encore” which will surely follow, I bet there will be a lot of “big shots” here sweating bullets! Time to pay the piper!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do not assume that the RCIP has any plans to follow up on the US investigation.

      • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

        That may be the case but that is not necessarily all they need to worry about. The US authorities can take action for any illegal transaction passing through a US bank account. All US dollar transactions go to a US bank at some stage in the process.

  10. WaYaSay says:

    Bryce, the party is over, you are lucky to get off with 9 years, however, the rest of your “young high roller” friends are still here partying every night. If you really want to do something for the Cayman Islands, sit down tonight and write a letter, address it to Mr. Baines, RCIPS, Grand Cayman.

    Tell him ALL that you know, about how the “system” has been working down here and who the string pullers really are. Those who are “high society” cocktail party hounds with the over the top homes, ultra expensive cars, large fast boats and private airplanes.
    You, like Jeff Webb, are learning the hard way that taking the dirt overseas offers NO protection.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why so much sympathy for someone who has perpetuated the image of cayman as a haven for drug dealers and money laundering. I have less sympathy for this person who has hurt ever citizen of his country then I do for the expats recently busted for trying to launder supposedly bank fraud money through an Cayman investment management company. They owed less to our country than Bryce who this country made wealthy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It was all about the money.

    • How much money? says:

      What is the current street value of cocaine in Cayman?

      For example, years ago, the media reported that Chicago had a street value of cocaine of about $123 per gram, meaning that this bust would have been worth US$369 million dollars.

      However, in New Zealand, the street value of cocaine cost more than $750 per gram, meaning that this bust would have been worth over $2.2 billion dollars.

      If it was all about the money, how much are we talking about?

    • Anonymous says:

      Greed. Laziness.

  13. Anonymous says:

    PLEASE, folks, Bryce has been judged and sentenced by a court of law and will pay the price for his actions. Can we not simply leave it at that?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Greed and stupidity make a bad combination.

    • Anonymous says:

      He probably sang like a canary which is why he got just a fine and short prison term. If he survives it, I wonder will they protect him when he leaves prison….that much coke set somebody back a bit. He will be welcomed back into the flock here, probably join a church and find God. His surname and colour will aid in his being absolved. THIS folks where we get the rep for being corrupt. As for his heroic efforts after Ivan, I recall being first in line at the supermarket after the hurricane, waited for 5 hours for them to be prepared to open. Then had to wait another hour after it opened because his high society friends showed up and got priority without having to wait in line.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ah yes, and how many of the fine, upper crust ,elite members of Caymanian Society are breathing sighs of relief that Bryce took the fall. Just like Joey did for how many members of the lodge.
        I remember when I first arrived in CI in 2008, Joey Ebanks was the man of the year in Desmond’s annual publication. He was running the turtle farm incredibly well and was waiting for his turn in the LA. Eventually, he turned up at the farm with a box containing some $40,000 in cash to repay some advances he had granted himself. Then, after he fails to gain a seat in the LA, he is gifted with the “job” of MD at the Electrical Authority whereupon he lost all sight of reality and ruined his and his family’s lives in pursuit of the ecstacy, afforded by Lady Cocaine.
        Now we have Bryce as a major player in the cocaine game and no doubt he will be welcomed back into the Lodge and Cayman Aristocracy when he has done the time for himself and his other co-conspirators.
        Can this bitch called Cocaine have infected a whole class of leaders here in Cayman? Can we see a pattern of absolute stupidity, abuse, violence against women, finances out of control, not to mention the two major political leaders acting like politics is still a matter of personalities and tribalism? We have built a world class financial centre and tourism mecca, and have a future in the medical tourism field as well as numerous other opportunities for this country, but are refusing to face the fact that a large number of the current generation are graduating high school without literacy and only the numeracy to be able to handle money they gain from whatever endeavours, legal or not that their unemployability dictates.
        Get this marvelous country back on track by electing officials with real abilities, the understanding of succession planning, and the true love of all the peoples of this island, rather that the merchant class and the acting heads of departments who are failing the civil service because they don’t know any better. Maybe another few years of mentoring by expats who have the EXPERIENCE to pass on to these kids will be worth swallowing for the good of all Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          10:41AM Good reply and very well said.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you. Now we need to correlate all the violent crimes of the last few weeks in Grand Cayman. Ganja has always been seen as the drug of peacelovers. Cocaine, on the other hand is so insidious in its attraction and addiction that users will go to any lengths to obtain that next high.
            Unfortunately the people of wealth that first introduced Cocaine to CI needed to pay the suppliers and then the suppliers used their profits to get their own high, not on ganja, but on this new to the Caribbean bringer of previously unknown ecstasy.
            I believe that the future of Cayman is dependent on stamping out this drug, but how do you achieve this without hurting the very people who are in control of the islands and were the original addicts?

            • Anonymous says:

              The only thing I’ve ever seen someone high from ganja harm is a plate of food. About as easy to quit as eating chocolate so I’ve been told.


        Excuse me while I interject here since you appear to be really busy being first in line again picking up stones to cast at Bryce and Caymanians as a whole.

        His absolution has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with our “rep for being corrupt”, as you call us.

        Whatever Bryce’s sins (or his involvement in drugs) used to be, it will SURELY NOT keep him out of Heaven, just like your sins won’t if you sincerely believe and change.

        And if this is TRULY the way you feel, I wouldn’t even want to know what you really think about Moses (you know, the self-admitted murderer), or Rahab (you know, the self-admitted prostitute), or Jacob (you know, the self-admitted liar), or Noah and Mozart (you know, the self-admitted drunkards), or Stravinsky (you know, who beat his own children by his own admission), or King David (you know, the self-admitted adulterer)!

        God still used them and He can use Bryce, too. Bryce’s sin isn’t any worse in God’s eyes than your sin that you commit every day, or any of our sins, for that matter.

        I’m just saying.

      • Anonymous says:

        How will his surname and colour aid in him being absolved?

      • Anonymous says:

        There was no was a sting, there is no one after him when he gets out…

    • Anonymous says:

      Plane crash???? Can anyone clarify that one….also wasn’t bryce arrested in cayman for driving without his license which was taken away due to DWI??? Could be wrong but I thought i heard this??

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop worrying about Bryce. He is history. Use your energy and make a difference by calling out your kids drug habits,your neighbor/friend drug dealer, your kids school mate drugs supply. If we are really concerned then step up and make a difference. Be responsible for your own actions and stop playing the finger pointing game.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Born in wealth and still not happy. Unbelievable . . . . .

  16. Sharkey says:

    CNS , do you have any more information on the small plane crash, and why Bryce was so close to the wreck to be able to save the people ?

    CNS: No, sorry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does anybody? Anywhere?

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr. Merren was a passenger in a single engine light aircraft that crashed on Water Quay, now known as Star Fish Point , back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Exact date escapes me, but it will be in the archive of the Compass.The pilot was injured and had his teeth & face hurt by the landing.Bryce managed to pull him from the fuselage before it was damaged by fire.Both very lucky to have escaped. The plane took off from ORIA and suffered an engine failure across the sound, then descended to the area of Water Quay, where a landing attempt was possible.

        • Anonymous says:

          So about 20 years ago he was in an accident. Says a lot if that barrel has to be scraped to show good character. Sounds like a red flag for a lifetime of acting for self.

    • Anonymous says:

      A light aircraft that crashed ? It may have been registered in Venezuela or Colombia !!

  17. caymanaindonkey says:

    I can’t beleive some of you guys supporting Bryce (drug dealer), this man was intending to buy thousands of pounds of cocaine, which then he would sell to make a profit. This can’t be the first time he has done this, there is no way in hell a drug boss would sell that amount of cocaine to a man off the streets.
    I also see people writing about transferring him to the US or Cayman, screw that leave that DRUG DEALER were he is.
    This piece of Sh… was planning on killing people buy selling these drugs. As far as I am concerned he got off light, he should have got the 20yrs.
    Again, you all forget this man is a drug dealer!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Unlike Cayman the “I’ve found God and have changed my ways” defense coupled with some reference letters doesn’t work that well.

    • Anonymous says:

      He might even turn pastor like another former convicted drug dealer around here. People can be so stupid for believing leopards can change their spots.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nasty, greedy, selfish, dishonest scumbag. Other than that, a lovely guy.


      I will reserve any personal opinion about Bryce’s character until he has been out for a couple years to see if he has actually learned his lesson.

      But let’s be really clear…I would rather take a chance on an honest rogue-gone-straight than half of these criminals walking around here right now just not caught yet…or too well connected to get draped up by the law!

      • Anonymous says:

        Huh? “An honest rogue”? You would trust a convicted felon over those whom you suspect are dishonest?


          Jesus was arrested, went to trial, got convicted and was given the death penalty by the ruling court of law.

          A lot of people “suspected” the dishonesty of McKeeva, who was absolved of any wrongdoing by the ruling court of law.

          So then you ask me “You would trust a convicted felon over those whom you suspect are dishonest?”

          Hmmm, let me think about that one…why don’t you tell me???

          • Judean People's Front says:

            Scenario # 3 – alleged Blasphemer.

            Overheard saying that a piece of Halibut was good enough for Jehovah.

            Arrested and went to trial, stoned to death by the women, sorry, men in the crowd along with the overseeing Pharisee, who also perished.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable how people are still trying to support this creep.
    Most of us don’t even blink an eye when a 20 year old “regular” Caymanian is locked away for 5 years for marijuana charges (ruining a future and creating a lifelong career criminal in the process), yet are willing to defend this GROWN ASS MAN and his plan to expose the Cayman Islands to 3,000 kilos of cocaine?!

    Not only was he fully aware of his actions, but he, his “playboy” colleagues, and close connections were fully prepared to insidiously bask in the feigned glory of the family name as a result of his “proceeds”.

    Those in the know have recognized it is the people in his circles that are at the top of our narcotics food chain. Those with access to boats, planes, and shipping routes …you know, the wealthy and generational landowners of Cayman and the rest of the Caribbean.

    However, the regional prison footprint is strangely absent of these characters.

    Serve your time Bryce. You have earned it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    With time served he should be out in 4 to 6. Not too bad for actions that could have lead to a quarter century sentence. I have never respected Byrce because, as a witness to his behavior, he not only took the easy way out, but made my skin crawl with his lack of morals, or even common decency.

    Yet, I am still sorry for his honest family members. Aka his sister.

    • Anonymous says:

      Say what you want but Bryce has a big heart and has helped many people on this island. Unfortunately he screwed up big time. We turn our backs on each far too often here. Before we pass negative comments about each other we need to look in the mirror and check our own closets.

      • Anonymous says:

        Turning backs on privileged wealthy men who try to profit from the Caribbean cocaine trade is a good thing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Turn our backs??? why should anyone support this piece of s..t. He was going to sell or import these drugs and ruin many many lives. He is a grown ass man who should know better. He should have gotten a longer sentence. I can look in the miorror at myself everyday and know I didn’t try to sell drugs!

      • Lindsay says:

        I checked my closet and can safely say I’m not a drug dealer. I might drive faster than 25 on the South Sound Road on occasion and I might not always indicate on roundabouts, but I’m prepared to answer for that if the time comes.

        This guy is a scumbag in a scummy industry and I don’t care what else he has done in his life, the guy deserves to be locked up for life. The only break I would cut him is if he sings like a canary and gives up everyone else involved.

    • Under the US federal judicial system, prisoners must serve at least 85% of their sentence. So, in this case, Merren was sentenced to nine years in prison, meaning he must serve at least 7.65 years. He was arrested in March, 2014 and has been in custody since then, so he should be due for release in late 2021.


    Why hasn’t Randy made contact with the British Consulate General in Miami to have Bryce either transferred to serve the remainder of his sentence in Buttner, North Carolina or in Northward? As a foreign national, Bryce can have his attorney file a Treaty Transfer and he can do his time here. Everything should be done to get him on the mainland at Coleman in central Florida or Cayman. But anything is better than that hellhole in Puerto Rico!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry he deserves to be in that hell hole….no leniency


        The article did report he is remorseful.

        I will reserve any personal opinion about Bryce’s character until he has been out for a couple years to see if, in fact, he has learned his lesson and has been rehabilitated.

        But truth be told, I’d rather take a chance on an honest rogue-gone-straight than half these criminals walking around here right now just not caught yet…or just too well connected to get draped up by the law!

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently a request has been put in for him to serve his time in Cayman but it hasn’t been decided as yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      The letter is in the post from Puerto Rico. By the standards of the world’s third best postal system, cough cough, it can be expected to arrive in late 2016.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Deport him! Oh…er…..

  24. Anonymous says:

    Oh please…he just got caught this u think this was the first time?? Good character how many lives has he ruined by selling drugs…let him rot away….

  25. Anonymous says:

    I still wont do business with his family His brother was supporting him thru this whole course of events and if I spent my money with him I would of been supporting an accused/ now convicted drug dealer.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a ridiculous statement. I haven known Randy for years and he is 100 percent against drugs. Also, if you decide to take this stance, you would not be able to shop at a lot of places in Cayman as many many businesses here were started with easy drug money brought in in the 70’s. A lot of ‘prominent’ businessmen were involved in drugs and money laundering years ago. Where do you think all of their money came from when Cayman had a population of 15-20,000 people? Do your homework before posting idiotic statements.

      • Anonymous says:

        I do have a hard time supporting drug dealers
        where did brice get 200k, from a lawnmowing job? I don’t think so, he got it from the family businesses
        just because you do business with people you know are criminals I don’t have to.
        your character is very thin I guess some of your sinful behaviors are due to watching others MONKEY SEE MONKEY DOO

      • Anonymous says:

        10:39am, You’ve said a mouth full 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        Many Caymanians worked hard and are still working hard to survive, do business and help people. Stop being so hypocritical. Everyone has made mistakes. Are you an exception?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yea you can start with some restaurants on the beach.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Narcotics are no different than alcohol. Both are mind and mood altering substances. Both can be addicting. One is arbitrarily legal; one is arbitrarily illegal.

    In light of the above, nine years is ridiculously long.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Good, now let’s round up the rest of the people involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Round ALL of them up! Cayman anxiously awaiting yet another “betrayal/treasonous act”.

      9 of 20-year custodial sentence and will serve >6.5 years. That’s a “Sweet Heart” plea deal. Nice.

    • Anonymous says:

      its the demand for these illegal substances that need to be dealt with. White collar users always “afford” a way out.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Got off pretty easy. Could have been 20.

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