Visiting student dodges jail over ‘souvenir’ bullet

| 28/09/2017 | 23 Comments

(CNS): A 19-year-old visiting student from Honduras, who had been arrested at the Grand Cayman airport, was fined $800 when she appeared in court earlier this week. The young woman had been in the Cayman Islands visiting relatives who live and work here, but said she had inadvertently carried a bullet in the bottom of a bag. She told the court that she had found the bullet several years ago while walking on a beach with her partner at home in Honduras and had kept it as a souvenir.

The bullet had shown up on the scanner at the Owen Roberts International Airport as the women was departing after her holiday here.

Despite the continued concerns of the court about the amount of ammunition that is being inadvertently brought into Cayman after not being detected at international airports, the court accepted the woman’s explanation.

The magistrate opted not to record a conviction against the teenager and also reduced the fine to $800 in recognition of her status as a student.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Diogenes & Belonger – May I attempt to answer your queries/comments:

    1. FADS is trained to UK Security standards, which are the law of the Cayman Islands, not TSA which is US standards and (thankfully) do not apply in Cayman.

    2.Cayman accommodates TSA standards because many airlines which operate here are bound by those. However, international security guidelines encourages states to implement standards higher than those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization – these are minimum standards. The UK is one of those states which chose to go far above the ICAO minima with it’s standards. Unfortunately the USA is not. This is very evident in light of the many breaches discovered here, which originate at US airports.

    3. For years, prior to and despite the impact of the 9/11 attacks, the US standards (TSA) have been trailing those in Europe and the UK – mainly because the powerful airlines lobby in the US convinced Congress to water-down training standards and other US security requirements, in the interests of saving costs!

    4. For over 20 years the Cayman Islands aviation security regime was fortunate to have a local aviation security professional – a trained UK aviation security inspector – on staff at the airport. This person was highly instrumental in developing strong local aviation security practices, including oversight of FADS’ training and their performance. For many years the level of aviation security in Cayman was comparable with that at medium-sized UK airports. However, that person retired some years ago so there is no assurance that those standards still remain, in general – hopefully that is the case. At least it appears that FADS remains consistent.

    5. HM Customs staff do not get aviation security training, they are not required to, although the CIAA encourages all airport partners to participate in security familiarization sessions. Customs role is not aviation security, it is border control, so Customs officers would not necessarily be alert to aviation security breaches and may only uncover same as “chance”.

    6. Re all the above – I happen to know what I’m speaking about.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if David Dean Meadors skipped bail or did he return to Cayman last week? Much more serious crime than this Honduran student.

    • West bay Premier says:

      Just watch and see if me or my cousin are not busted again next month with another bullet in my luggage going out of the Islands .

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep perhaps just one the hundreds of bullets brought in and delivered to local gangs, fell out of the box. Apologies your honor for my tardiness, it won’t happen next time!

  3. West bay Premier says:

    And let’s see how long it takes for the appropriate Authority to catch on with the Judge comment, the second to last paragraph of the article.

  4. BELONGER says:

    I have an important observation to make in regards to security scanners at airports.

    Over the past few years there seems to be a “very good detection rate” of either firearms, drugs and ammunition on outgoing passengers at ORIA by private contractors. (Flowers FADS)

    Many of these same outgoing passengers would have departed other airports around the world and never got detected with such firearms, drugs or ammunition.

    In H.M. Customs hall at ORIA there was or still is, a security scanner for incoming passengers and their luggage. Rarely do you hear of firearm detections on incoming passengers or their luggage by Custom Officers.

    The question is, why is the security contractors (Flowers – FADS) at ORIA so efficient/effective in their detection……. than so many other airport scanners around the world ? (including the USA major airports where many of the travelers come from)

    It appears that if H.M. Customs contracted a small team of FADS employees with security scanners somewhere near their inspection hall, very little or no contraband would be passing through, as there seems to be great detections outgoing, which all originated when they first arrived into the Cayman Islands.

    Does Flowers – FADS have better equipment or better trained staff for security at ORIA than say H.M. Customs or even the TSA in the United States ?

    Give credit where credit is due, if you can’t escape through ORIA with a small bullet that you forgot at the bottom of your luggage, I would feel very confident that no one will be lucky enough to carry any illegal or dangerous weapons onboard an aircraft for say terrorism purposes or firearm smuggling.

    Well done private contractors at ORIA – (Flowers – FADS)

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s more to do with volume of passengers and how much time time security have to process passengers, at least passengers from the US, not sure the excuse from Honduras, maybe lack of equipment/scanners. Probably just as effective to stick a big sign up in passport control over what you can’t bring in, then have some sort of amnesty bin.

    • Diogenes says:

      I doubt that the US, which is on of the reasons that our security standards are at the level they are, doesn’t detect these persons according to the TSA you are allowed to transport live ammunition in both carry on and checked luggage in boxes or containers depending on the type of ammunition and which piece of luggage it is in. The singular bullet in the bottom of someone’s bag probably just isn’t a big deal to the gun saturated US population and probably isn’t worth the agents time to bother stopping the person ( They are also most likely much more casual with domestic flights that are generally filled with US citizens and outgoing flights to other jurisdictions.

      Lets not pretend that Cayman is on the cutting edge of transportation security and security technology, that creates a false sense of security and complacency that could lead to an incident, we must remain ever vigilant. I would rather the Staff at ORIA constantly look for potential breaches than sit with their feet up relaxing.

      • Anonymous says:

        The link says it (ammunition) is prohibited in carry-on, so no excuses for the TSA not picking it up, or taking it on a plane. The TSA miss 95% of prohibited items, which is pretty rubbish!

    • Hafoo says:

      This must be someone from the flowers group.These positions should be for Caymaians only.they have foreigners doing jobs that we can do The only caymanian that works for them is Bob.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol. It is because having firearms and ammunition in your checked luggage leaving USA is not illegal, firearms are generally legal and TSA is not ‘missing it’. They do not stop you if you have it.

      However it is being missed on the way into Cayman and then found on the way out…not ideal, and while you may feel safe on the plane leaving how do you feel knowing it is getting into cayman?

    • West bay Premier says:

      But Belonger , you are too polite in one part in your comment, they only catches it that one bullet on the way out of the Islands. Coming in is more important too .

      • BELONGER says:

        That’s why I said HM Customs is failing on incoming detections and should employ a few of FADS employees, in or near their arrival hall to boost their detection rates.

        It’s not FADS responsibility for incoming detections only for outgoing.

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue is spent casings are not illegal in carry-on bags in the US, they are here, so it’s not a matter of our security being better, it’s that the same item is viewed entirely differently.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Customs scanner is for checked luggage, the FADS scanner is for hand luggage. Two different things, that’s why different detection rates. (Because no one is taking their full-size suitcase to the gun range, or the beach, or hunting, to end up with a forgotten bullet in it but they do take their backpack or other bag that they then use as hand luggage when travelling.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Maybe you should stop worrying so much about stray bullets in tourist exit luggage. Allow them $500 immediate bail and let them forfeit it and go on their way. Realistically, this is never going to stop considering where your tourists come from. Such mistakes are inevitable and routine everywhere given how many people are flying.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well if you was to fly into America with bullets in your luggage you will be arrested by the ATF and be charge with a federal crime and be locked up in a federal jail. After all of that you will be deported from America for importing ammunition with our the proper permit.

      The questions is why the Cayman Islands are so relax with these cases and other countries will lock you up.

      • ? says:

        $70,000.00 why’s – that’s what they claim it cost per prisoner per year. With that amount of money spent, I would expect all prisoners that when they are released would have their own home. I only make $45,000 annually and have a morgage !

        Oh wait with the recent lightning strike to their lumber store room expect that figure to be $100,000 by the end of this month.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because of tourism?!?! And the money it brings?!?!

      • Anonymous says:

        That is a crock of shit. Why would they deport you for repatriating a round of ammunition made in the USA and available to purchase down the street?. You can buy ammo at Sears. Provide one single case as an example and I will eat my words. I am tired of the “Cayman is the only place in the world that”……… argument, without any effort to obtain facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          well you go to sears and buy a box of bullets and if you get caught trying to board an international flight from Miami, what you think will happen???? You honestly think that they would just let you on the plane?? Wow….. some people just blind to the obvious…

      • annonymous says:

        couldn’t agree with you more. why don’t the airline staff checking in the passengers ask out-right if there is any ammunition in their luggage. the airlines need to stress that it is illegal to bring in guns/ammunition. this is going too far now. every minute we are hearing about ammunition being found on passengers.

    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 1:02pm , I am not worried about the one stray going out . Me you and everyone else should be worried and concerned about 100’s of bullets coming into the Islands . That’s where your focus should be not the $500.00 .

      What would you do if when one of those bullet hit you ? Use that $500. 00 for your medical expenses.

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