US visitor fined $8K over loaded gun

| 26/01/2017 | 69 Comments
Cayman News Service

Baggage screening room at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport

(CNS): A licensed firearms holder from the state of Georgia in the US who arrived in Cayman Brac last week on a private jet with a loaded .22 Magnum pistol and extra ammunition has been fined $8,000. But Paul Arthur Grenier (54) avoided a mandatory jail term of seven years, despite not having an import permit, because the magistrate found exceptional circumstances. Concerns were raised by prosecutors in this case that while he had a licence in the US, the American visitor was well aware that he had the gun with him but had not declared it when he arrived at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on 19 January.

It was not until the visitor, who was understood to be the owner and pilot of the private plane, was going through a security check ahead of his planned departure from the Brac that he mentioned the gun. When he was asked to place his bag on the X-ray machine and asked the usual questions, he told officials about the loaded firearm and bullets  He claimed that he had not mentioned the weapon as he had not seen anywhere to declare it on the customs forms.

Grenier appeared in Summary Court on Wednesday, where he was given a $5,000 fine for the loaded gun and another $3,000 fine for the additional ammunition.

The issue of people who are licensed gun owners in the US bringing their weapons and ammunition into Cayman by mistake or intent because they are ignorant of local gun laws is not uncommon. And while magistrates have persistently tried to deliver the message that visitors should not be bringing guns with them, local customs officers are still dealing with these infractions on a regular basis.

But so far, no  one who is a legitimately licensed gun holder from the US but who does not have a Cayman licence has ever received the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a gun when passing through local airports.

Tags: ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (69)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    These incidents are offences under the Aviation Security and Piracy Order 2000 (and lts related updates and Regulations), however, repeatedly they are not prosecuted under that Law but are re-directed to HM Customs to prosecute under illegal importation of firearms. Why isn’t CIAA prosecuting these offences? That is an international responsibility!! Surely CIAA is failing in this responsibility!! As the head of aviation security in Cayman, why isn’t Her Excellency addressing this shortcoming?

    CNS, can you please make an inquiry into same?




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe he was reading the articles on Cayman News Service before departing and thought a weapon would be wise choice before entering the lawless-Cayman shoot-out islands. If things progress the way they are now, visitors won’t be handed a map when entering the island, they will be given a handgun. Disagree? Then go stick your head back in the sand..




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Do ten like the rest of us




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  4. Anonymous says:

    We are missing the bigger picture here, security at airports around the world has been increased because of America yet America is constantly allowing people to walk through their airports with firearms, some of whom arrive in the Cayman Islands. Perhaps this man did depart from an “official” USA airport but a private airfield but he could just have easy as landed at one with firearms on the “air side” adjacent to all the other aircraft. Its the American security we have to get a grip of not the Cayman personnel.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Surely this ignorant dangerous hick must be permanently banned from the Islands.




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  6. Just asking ? says:

    Leaving with a loaded gun and not declare it is the same as bringing it in undeclared to me is the same. It seems we have 2 sets of rule here. He should have been jailed or at the very least forbitten to return ever. Property or not. Boy money can fix anything in Cayman, specially if your not Caymanian. Wannabe politicians how do you feel about our justice system ?. What would you do should you get in about similar situation ? The law is the law = 7 years. We have no idea of the character of persons coming to our shores either as investors and work permit holders. Yea we need more people alright ! Very disturbing…




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    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians don’t need money just friends in high places.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m American, is it OK during my next visit, upon renting a car, that I run over and kill a bicyclist on the side the road and then pretend like I didn’t do it? Will you have the same animosity towards me? Will you agree I should get life in jail because I’m not Caymanian and only deserve two?




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Having a self-defense weapon aboard a high-value and capable plane or yacht in a well known transshipment region is just another item on the prudent safety checklist. Customs should expect reasonable pilots and captains to arrive in the Caribbean with guns and provide an organized method of amnesty for licensed conceal-carry firearm owners to surrender on arrival and release on departure. Yachtsmen peacefully and routinely surrender their weapons in ports all around the world. Clearly we are not understanding our customers, or in denial of our geography, and then penalize these visitors for being honest. We’re the ones with Cayman-born armed gangs on dirt bikes, a highly permeable and unprotected border, decades of understaffed JMU, and millions of dollars of interdiction equipment sitting on trailers. Maybe it’s time for some critical self-reflection…




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    • Anonymous says:

      Thumb up




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    • Rod Bodden says:

      So why they don’t declare the guns? This has me puzzled? All of this will stop when one of those undeclare gun is used in a murder.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Rod, there ought to be an expectation of armed visitors and an organized method for law-abiding honest FAA-certified aviators to safely surrender weapons and collect their property on departure. HM Customs should have anticipated this reality years ago – they should abandon the taboo and charge an armoury warehousing fee to cover their costs. Pilots of million dollar planes would be foolish not to arrive with a firearm in the Caribbean. Most first time visitors would subsequently realize that the firearm was unlikely to be necessary in the Cayman Islands, but this isn’t necessarily the end of their trip. Many planes carry on over genuinely violent territory. We can’t presume to know every flight plan or anticipate aircraft problems which might necessitate landing in less than ideal circumstances. Being prepared for unknown eventualities is part of a pilots toolkit, however unappetizing.




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        • Anonymous says:

          There is such a procedure in place. Anyone arriving from outside our jurisdiction via private vessels (aircraft included) may declare their weapons. Regardless of said weapon’ legality and purpose. However, its intersting to note that paperworks for entering by boats clearly has this printed yet airport declaration cards do not. If this gentleman had declared his weapon upon arrival (even verbally) it would of been detained and returned to him on his departure. This even applies to locals.




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          • Anonymous says:

            Cold comfort to hear this pilot might have been spared $8000+ and an arrest conviction had we simply had our arrival paperwork in order. Shame on him?




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    • Anonymous says:

      I thought Customs did this for ships/yachts, generally speaking you shouldn’t need a gun whilst the plane is on the ground in an airport, especially the Brac, you also probably don’t need one whilst at a US airport, I would say the only time you do need one is if you are planning a stop somewhere along the way and maybe landing somewhere other than an airport, you know, to stretch your legs! It would have been move believable if they had left the gun secured onboard the plane rather than carrying it in the Brac.




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      • Anonymous says:

        How many cops on the Brac? Four? If you think that the Brac is all buttoned up and secure, have another toke.




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      • Anonymous says:

        There are all kinds of unforeseen eventualities that play out across the Caribbean. La Ceiba and many other airports are lined with the husks of planes of deceased former owners. The Brac has played host to off-flight plan crash landings in recent past. Deny deny deny…




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    • Anonymous says:

      “Cayman-Born armed Gangs on dirt bikes”

      Propaganda, racial profiling and ignorance at an all time high. God Bless the native born Caymanians and pray for the expats/immigrants who show disdain towards us, while benefitting off everything Cayman. These same ones who come from big cities and think their ideaologies is the must and that their countries are the best only to come cayman and never wanting to return home, then transforming to the cayman islander by soaking up the culture and slang and then calling cayman home and abandoning their home country. Respect Cayman-Born / Born Caymanian!




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      • Anonymous says:

        More denial




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      • Anonymous says:

        It’s been 18mos since connected Caymans waltzed into a “secured” evidence locker, inside a defended police perimeter being overseen by CCTV from a private security firm, and walked out with $45mln in drugs, and there has not been a single arrest. Not one. What does that tell you about the security of these islands?




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    • George Ebanks says:

      Excellent point @10:37… Item needs urgent revisiting…




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    • Anonymous says:

      3rd Thumbs UP!
      Cayman is far behind time in almost every aspect of life.




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  8. Bluff Patrol says:

    Bringing a loaded gun into the islands deserves more than a fine. Why did the mandatory sentence for unlicensed weapons not apply in this case? The law applies to all. Visitors, residents and locals.




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    • Preston Wheeler says:

      Buzz off, Bluff Patrol! This man wasn’t caught bringing in a weapon. He informed authorities about the gun when he was departing! He didn’t use it for committing any crimes, as far as anyone knows, so why the excessive fine? The lesson learned here is, “Stay away from the Cayman Islands. There are greedy people there.”




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    • Preston Wheeler says:

      It’s a ridiculous law, BP.




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    • Anonymous says:

      So the Cayman people are angry at the American who brought a firearm into the country and you believe he deserves 7 years automatically because the LAW IS THE LAW…
      Right?
      Sounds more like racial profiling to me…something against Americans? do you have an axe to grind with us? You want 7 years in prison for no one getting hurt and a silly mistake? I even read one comment above that referred to him as a “hick”.

      LISTEN UP CAYMANIANS (whoever the hell that is these days) you are allowed to run over AND kill an innocent bystander biking on the side of a road, pretend like you didn’t do it, and then admit with an “oops” I didn’t know, AND ONLY RECEIVE 2 years in prison I think it was…

      Since there are so many angry comments against this pilot and his “criminal” act, I’m assuming a lynchmob gathered to hunt down the guilty driver before his slap-on-the-wrist punishment.?.? Oh no, that didn’t happen…




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  9. Anonymous says:

    Why would anyone in their right mind start bringing Donald Trump into every discussion/comment?




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    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve noticed that and wondered the same thing. We call those asshats, sh!t stirrers. They are just trying to get a rise out of people.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same man who used indecent language to the Customs Officers in Grand Cayman a few months ago and was fined? Just asking!!! As we have heard that this man owns property in Cayman Brac and after the Grand Cayman incident does not fly through Grand Cayman but straight to the Brac on a private plane. Just wondering.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    Typical ignorant or arrogant attitude of some Americans who think their laws apply everywhere else in the world.




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    • Preston Wheeler says:

      Arrogant? Ignorant? I didn’t see anything like that in the article. Are you some kind of nut, anonymous 7:59?




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  12. Anonymous says:

    He should have been jailed for his presumptive arrogance. You know he was a Trump voter…




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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you psychic? Please grow up with the Trump references.




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      • Anonymous says:

        A gun loving Georgian with no respect for the laws of other countries? There is nothing wrong with Trump shaming – they are selfish people or ignorant poorly educated people or both. Bit like the UK Brexit mob.




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        • Diogenes says:

          Nothing wrong with making wholesale assumptions about people with no evidence whatsoever either it would seem. I could equally say you were a narcissistic, illogical asshole – be about as reasonable, although at least I would have the evidence of your post to rely on.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Calm down snowflake. This has nothing to do with King Donald!




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  13. Cheese Face says:

    WFT did he needed a loaded magnum in the Brac for anyway? I’m guessing he also drives a canary yellow Ferrari and has a very small pen, is I allowed to say that?




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  14. Anonymous says:

    WTF???? These idiots need to go to jail. Just because Americans are gun crazy nutters doesn’t mean they should feel they have the right to bring guns to other countries! I don’t want his money, he can stay in Georgia where he belongs.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    If any resident of the Cayman Islands who has a licensed firearm here; should ever attempt to enter the United States with such a firearm or ammunition…….. without an import permit and is detected by ICE, I bet you will see Donald Trump judges immediately send them to prison and deport them afterwards.

    I can accept a stray bullet forgotten at the bottom of your brief or suit case but not a loaded magnum firearm with ammunition.

    In this case, HM Customs at Cayman Brac failed in their job as the defendant entered the Brac on his private plane and the weapon was not detected when he cleared Customs. (Declaration or no Declaration) Only after he was being screened by airport security upon departure, the weapon was detected by security and then brought to the attention of H.M Customs.

    It appears that Airport Security (FADS) does a much better job at detecting illegal items in our country and this not applies to Cayman Brac but in Grand Cayman as well.

    This gentleman probably departed a small airport somewhere in the US where he filed a flight plan and walked straight unto his private plane and then headed to Cayman Brac.

    H.M Customs Cayman Islands are “much too relaxed” when it comes to the detection of illegal drugs and firearms at our ports of entry but are very eager to examine your receipts from Walmart and Home Depot for Customs Duty.




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    • anonymous says:

      Oh, please
      Don’t mix Donald Trump into this.
      If your custom declaration would conspicuously warn visitors about guns and ammunition law and the consequences of violating it, there would be fewer cases.
      Besides catching visitors with a single bullet on their way out is just laughable.




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      • Anonymous says:

        BS – it is up to the visitors to familiarize themselves with the laws of the country they are visiting. I am sure you are not flying to Europe with a gun in your purse!




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      • Anonymous says:

        The customs declaration does warn about bringing in guns, drugs, etc. Funny how many people sign those forms and never read them.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you are probably correct. However, if a resident of your islands would have pulled this stunt a few weeks back during president Obummers tenure, we would’ve welcomed he or she with open arms, given them food stamps and unemployment checks with benefits they could waste, a free computer, cell phone, free housing…I could go on-and-on… So, yeah, we’re thankful for a leader who doesn’t take any more crap from a world who has asked us (AND EXPECTS US) to be their real police.




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  16. Anonymous says:

    How about no need to add anything to any paperwork nor add signage – everybody knows you can’t just waltz up with a firearm. #asshat. Smart enough to fly a plane, smart enough to know better. Fine him “bigly” and send him on his way.




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  17. Anonymous says:

    He should do 7 years like everyone else. Who is to say he is innocent? Suppose he had a terrorist plan up his sleeve. It will take something bad to happen for customs and police to realise you cant give these foreigners breaks.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Truthfully he needs a gun I am not coming to Cayman anymore too many thugs with guns running around




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    • Anonymous says:

      Liberal nutjob the sign should say no guns voodoo dolls scorpions dead body parts crack marijuana bondage/sexual toys etc where will it stop




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      • Anonymous says:

        liberal? don’t think so, Georgia is stock full of conservative hicks… obviously! Who else would think it’s pertinent to carry a loaded gun to a small, peaceful island! What an idiot!




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        • Anonymous says:

          Peaceful island? Maybe felt the need to protect himself from the gangs or the police now shooting people




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      • Diogenes says:

        All the items you mention are in fact banned from importation. A friend – cough cough – of mine witnessed a tourist being asked in front of the customs queue to comment on the illegal sex toy they were importing to bring a little spice to their holiday. Guess they should have brought a gun instead.




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    • Diogenes says:

      A terrorist plan? With a single. 22 handgun? OK then.




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  18. Horace Foster says:

    My opinion is that the Summary Court is just plain greedy! This man told them about the gun, which he owned legally. Since he didn’t commit any crimes while on-island, why fine him? Never mind. I already answered that! By the way, he was departing…. and not bringing in an illegal firearm.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve misread the article sir, it clearly states “Concerns were raised by prosecutors in this case that while he had a licence in the US, the American visitor was WELL AWARE that he HAD the GUN with him but had NOT DECLARED when he ARRIVED at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on 19 January.”




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      • Anonymous says:

        Regardless he should still go to jail for 7years




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      • Horace Foster says:

        Thanks for the reply, 9:51. I am not saying the man is without guilt. Obviously he should have declared his gun upon arrival. Maybe an oversight… maybe not. A big mistake on his part! I just feel that the courts are taking advantage of other-than-criminal visitors. For all I know, this person could be a hit man for the mob….. but we don’t know that. I do not own any firearms, but I think a seven year sentence just for having a handgun is beyond the pale.




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  19. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps all tickets issued on flights to Cayman should state no guns or ammunition are allowed and are subject to prosecution, and if a private plane owner files a plan to fly here, that should flag up the warning too. Then there would be little excuse.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry..total bollocks. Nowhere in the world are you permitted to fly without declaring a firearm in your possession to the authorities either at check-in or security. SIgnage at check in at US airports states firearms are prohibted items on your person, baggage, carry on. Suggestions or special declarations on plane ticketing ( which no longer exist anyway) as well as special wording only on Cayman customs forms is totally un-necessary. When you book a ticket to travel, in doing so you agree to the terms and conditions of air travel, which include prohibiting guns and/ or ammunition. Saying you dIdnt know,or were using a bag previously taken hunting, etc , just not going to be an excuse. A commercial/ private jet pilot and owner of a jet says he did not know that guns were a prohibited item on an island international flight? Not today Bobo




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      • Anonymous says:

        I was more referring to the other cases that have come before the courts and have been accidents. In this case it seems he was well aware and got what he deserved and might have got off easy.




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  20. Anonymous says:

    Referring to just the final paragraph of this story – the reason the law will never be fully applied in cases like this is that if it was the pro-shooting lobbyists, backed by certain sections of the US media, would declare open season on the Cayman Islands.This is diplomacy in action and it’s a fair compromise – we collect the fines and avoid the hassles.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    How about some signage in the customs areas like the no camera signs. Or ask airlines to add to their checkin questions at the origin




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