Couple arrested at airport with illegal gun

| 19/04/2017 | 28 Comments

(CNS): A local couple were arrested at the Owen Roberts International Airport Monday for importing an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, customs officials said. The 29-year-old man and 25-year-old woman, both Caymanian, are also under investigation for a large amount of undeclared personal goods. Following a recent boost in investment by the Customs Department on personnel, technology and infrastructure, in the last three months alone officers have arrested 18 people for various offenses, ranging from drugs to firearms.

According to a press release, customs officers arrested a 45-year-old American national on Easter Monday for possession of ganja at the airport.

On 24 March they intercepted an unspecified controlled drug concealed in a toy boat imported via air mail.  The release said that officers became suspicious of the package and conducted an x-ray, which confirmed drugs hidden in the toy. Two people have since been arrested and investigations are ongoing.

To meet the ever-expanding and diverse threats to Cayman’s borders, the Customs Department has increased its border protection efforts.

“Illicit drugs and weapons smuggling, fraud and revenue evasion have been and continues to be among the Customs Department priorities,” said Collector of Customs Charles Clifford. “At every  level and every customs control point, our officers are rededicating themselves to a tough campaign against illicit activities.”

Thanking them for their efforts and diligence, he said the department would continue to enhance its professional relationships with key external agencies concerned with border management to provide a comprehensive security regime. He said there were agreed objectives about the challenges faced at the points of entry to the country which included co-operative efforts, sharing and exchanging information and other strategies.

Gun crime is still a major threat to the peace and security of Cayman and the lengthy mandatory jail terms for firearms do not seem to be having the desired deterrent effect. HMP Northward is at maximum capacity and a significant number of its inmates are serving time for gun-related crime. Police are seizing weapons from the street with relative frequency, but the armed robbery at Foster’s supermarket less than two weeks ago has served to illustrate the increasing danger that gun smuggling poses to the wider public.

Assistant Collector of Customs Tina Campbell, who is responsible for the Customs Narcotics Enforcement Team, said there was a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and guns at the border.

Deputy Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson, who is responsible for the department’s border protection portfolio, said border protection efforts support national strategies to disrupt the market for illegal drugs and weapons.

“We will continue to increase our efforts and coordinate with our partner agencies like the Royal Cayman Islands Police, the Department of Immigration and the strategic alliance between these three agencies with the Joint Marine Unit and other local and international agencies, with a shared understanding of common goals to disrupt the flow of illicit drug and weapons trafficking,” he said.

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Category: Crime, Customs, Local News

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Contraband really just needs to get to the Brac, and then it seems it can be flown domestically to Grand Cayman and rolled through the Immigration and Customs Hall at Owen Roberts without any questions asked – waving to everyone as it rolls through.

    Crime is enabled by our own ineptitude. How many drug busts or gun seizures have occurred at Charles Kirkconnell on Domestic routes? Zero. In recent memory, just one honest US private pilot in a single engine plane who got caught on the way out with his own licensed weapon.

    How many sneaky passengers regularly fly to the Brac for the day (or even a few hours) and outwit our interdiction apparatus by leaving with heavier baggage than when they arrived? Weigh all the bags – search those of owners that magically acquired lbs of stuff in just a few hours. We won’t know unless CAL and CIAA takes responsibility to reconcile total arrival and departure baggage weight (including carry-on) as part of the interdiction effort.

    Jamaica also trying to head off some of the guns and ammo coming in from Florida:

  2. Anonymous says:

    While we talk about border protection are the sister islands part of this country because they have none. With all the money we waste we should get drones to do patrols. If we would stop harboring Cubans we could afford it alone.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In the real world I can count the times I’ve seen a customs officer at LHR on the fingers of no hands. ..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Job by the Customs Officers who have been more and more vigilant, obviously using the skills they were taught that will lead them to uncover any hidden items on passengers etc., to ensure the safety of our borders. This is a very important job as it can result in lives being saved.

    The Customs Officers are highly trained and I have found them to be very professional. They are polite when approached by passengers however, they do not forget the purpose of their jobs and are not distracted. They are focused! Congratulations to all of our Customs Officers! Keep up the good work!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are forgetting how many customs officers have been implicated in criminal offences.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the most part they are jerKS who wanna be cops. I had a guy in a dark jumpsuit want to take me down because I went in the wrong line or was asking a question still haunts me to the day 7 years later

    • Anonymous says:

      Can almost guarantee where this posters place of employment is! The only person that can say that many positive things about customs has to be a customs officer . Because the public who actually has to deal with the long lines and rudeness of most officers while trying to pay duties at the main building office certainly witnesses their unprofessionalism.
      Not to mention anytime you arrive at the airport you have to wind your way through the line at the airport (not knowing which direction they should go) while all of “2” sometimes “3” officers scrutinize every passenger which makes for a very long wait. At times you come across 1 officer that actually smiles. You don’t have to have a stone face to be an effective officer, ever heard you catch more bees with honey??? Just pointing out the obvious. Customs officers in other jurisdictions know how to find a balance with enforcements & customer service and they also seem to catch people in criminal acts.

  5. Anonymous says:

    jamaican and honduran canoes are always to blame gor illegal guns ….however, as per this article, a lot of them are probably getting in right under customs noses???? at the airport….????

  6. Melanie Hulse says:

    So they can watch the people that allegedly have ‘nothing’ to declare…you know 3 out of 4 people have exceeded their limit without declaring a thing!

    • My heart is pure and my hands are clean says:

      And how do you know this, Sherlock? Sounds like customs need to keep an eye on you next time!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am glad to see that customs is finally stepping it up and inching closer to the Year 2017, however, I sincerely hope that ALL customs officers can separate their job duties and responsibilities from their private life and treat ALL people coming through immigration the same, no matter whether they are a elected Gov officials, high ranking civil servants, family members, friends or neighbors!!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    A typical and sound example how the guns are coming into the islands. 99.9% Caymanians are never checked at the airport including me. We are always greeted with a ‘oh you, take a run up so’ with a nice response. ‘Yes bloods’, and that’s it. No checks or Cheques accepted or executed at the Customs Dept. Visitors and natives should all be checked and our cheques should be accepted to pay our duties.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:04….Hello!!! Where are you getting your statistics from??? Are you sitting at the Customs arrival area at the airport to back up your claim?

      Please remember that you are not the only person that travel. I am a Caymanian who travel as well and I declare my items and are more than compliant when the Customs Officer ask to have a look in either of my bags. I have absolutely nothing to hide!!!

      Caymanians ARE checked! Bottom line is that people need to be honest – Caymanian or expat! STOP tearing down the Customs Officers! Remember they are doing their part to protect our borders therefore an encouraging word or a “thank you” wouldn’t hurt!!! STOP the negativity.

      I hope that the Customs arrival area would invest in a scanning baggage machine whereby ALL bags are required to go through which will alleviate loop holes for criminals to get by. ALL bags should be scanned for illegal weapons etc., and should there be any concern even if a weapon/drugs are not detected, the bags can be searched.

      Customs is stepping up their checks and as a Caymanian residing here on island, I’d rather be inconvenienced waiting in line in order for the proper checks to be done on passengers than to be rushed and run the risk of some criminal getting by with illegal weapon/s or drugs.

      I am glad to see that the drug dogs are also being used in the arrival area. Excellent job!!!

      Criminals are relentless therefore our law enforcement departments have to be more than vigilant and take the pro-active approach to detect, apprehend and prosecute those criminals sending a clear message of a NO TOLERANCE – NO NONSENSE approach on crime.

      Like I stated in my post earlier today at 11:42am, Well done Customs Officers!!! I have found these Officers both old and young, to be professional! They are polite and very knowledgeable about their jobs.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that those 99.9% of Caymanians likely don’t include you

  9. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why at the Airport, the Left Lines are for nothing to declare and the Right lines are for declaring items and paying duties, when the Left lines are closer to the Customs window
    and the Right Lines are further away.One has to pass the nothing to declare lines to get to Customs window. Why it was not set up the other away around,with the paying duties Lines closer to customs window.

    • Real Solutions says:

      Vote Anonymous 2017!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you need to get out more.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is designed that way to assist with the obesity crisis.

      • Freddy says:

        I agree with that 100%. Seems to me if your physical characteristics aren”t 250lbs or more then you dont even qualify for an interview much less a job in that dept and immigartion i can say the same thing

    • SSM345 says:

      The line on the right is closer to the carousal so they are actually helping you not walk further with all those suitcases.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think there should just be one big line for people with suitcases and a smaller line for people who have just carry-on luggage where it is obvious they have nothing to declare. The customs officers treat both lines the same as they don’t trust that people are being truthful when they say they have nothing to declare. Or, at least if they find someone isn’t being truthful and does have something to declare, they should just close their cases and send them to the back of the to declare line rather than writing up the amounts and holding up the nothing to declare line.

      • Anonymous says:

        Obvious is it? Is this a joke? Why should baggage size have anything to do with portability of items exceeding allowances, contraband; or willingness/ability to tell the truth? Following this logic we could allow arriving air travelers to roll right though with tens of kilos of whatever they forgot to declare. Oopsy-daisy, my bad, to the end of the line I go?

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder why I can’t just pay my duties online or at a kiosk rather than having to wait for a cashier??

    • once in a bluemoon traveller says:

      i agree in addition it causes the two lines to cross and creates stopage/ slow down in the green line. It could also be a security concern someone to
      declare could quickly pass off to the person nothing to declare something. The red and green lines while a good idea should be reversed. This would make for smoother and quicker processing. Or was it design this way to inconvenience the public?

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