(CNS): Collector of Customs Charles Clifford has said there is absolutely no place in the Cayman Islands Customs Department for staff engaged in criminal activity, after another of his officers was arrested over allegations of drug smuggling along with a member of staff from Cayman Airways. The woman and the CAL employee were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to import ganja into the Cayman Islands and related offences following a joint customs and RCIPS investigation.
“This is yet another manifestation of the value of joint customs, police and immigration operations,” Clifford said. “While the presumption of innocence must apply in all cases, I have said before and it is appropriate that I say again, I will not allow the integrity of our hard working and dedicated customs officers and staff to be brought into question because of unchecked criminal conduct by any corrupt officer.”
He also said that the inquiry should take priority.
“Investigations such as this one must be prioritised in all primary law enforcement agencies for obvious reasons; any officer who is engaged in criminal activity is clearly a serious threat to the national security of our country,” Clifford added.
Deputy Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson, who has responsibility for the Customs Border Protection Portfolio, added, “We will aggressively investigate allegations of criminal acts and administrative misconduct by any of our staff in order to preserve the honour and integrity of the Customs Department.”
No further details regarding the identity of the two accused people have been revealed or the quantity of drugs involved or how the drugs were imported.
Meanwhile, another suspended customs officer who has been charged in a separate drug conspiracy case appeared in court Friday. David Lobo (32), from Bodden Town, entered not guilty pleas for the second time when his alleged co-conspirators were joined to his case and all three men had the charges read to them.
Lesme Perez Ruiz, Allan Taylor Dominguez and Lobo are accused of smuggling around 1.8kg of cocaine into Cayman using Colombian artefacts. Lobo was bailed until the trial in August while Ruiz and Dominguez were remanded in custody.