Immigration workers convicted in cocaine case

| 30/05/2018 | 41 Comments

(CNS): Two local men who worked as civilian support staff for the immigration department have been found guilty of possessing more than a pound and a half of cocaine with the intent to supply. Stephen Wayne Hurlston (28) from George Town and Oscar Lee Watler (31) from West Bay were arrested in October of 2015 on an empty lot in Patrick’s Island after a uniform police officer spotted the men standing beside a white car and behaving suspiciously. The officer ultimately recovered packages of cocaine in and under the car, as well as drug-related paraphernalia from Watler’s pockets.

The men had both denied the charges, implying that the drugs must have been there before they arrived. They also refuted claims by the police officer that they had admitted finding the drugs on the beach and begged him to give them “a bligh” (let them go) because they could not afford to lose their jobs at immigration.

Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn, who presided over the case, said in her verdict convicting both men that the case had depended on whether the officer who had come across the pair was telling the truth or whether the evidence of the defendants, who were both of previous good character, was accurate.

They claimed to have gone there to fish for lobster and had nothing to do with the drugs but had seen some scales and small plastic bags on the ground, which they had picked up. They denied that there were any drugs in the car and said it was the police officer who had found the actual packages of cocaine.

The police officer’s evidence was that he had seen Hurlston in possession of one package, which he had tossed into the car when the officer approached, and that he had found a larger second package under the back of the car. This had been challenged by the defendants, who had called his credibility into question when he admitted in court saying to the men, after they asked him to let them go, that it might have been easier for him to turn a blind eye if it had been ganja, “but this was cocaine, which ruins lives”.

The officer also accepted that he had handled the various packages of drugs without wearing gloves.

But the magistrate found that these factors did not undermine his overall evidence because, she said, there was no need for him to admit that he had even implied he would overlook a serious crime if there had not been a conversation about the men’s admission to finding the drugs on the beach and asking him to let them go.

Reviewing the evidence, she found some of the claims made by the defendants over the circumstances they found themselves were “unbelievable”. She also found that there were “significant inconsistencies” in their stories and that they had struggled to explain away the evidence against them.

She said that she was satisfied that the men had found the drugs on the beach, as suggested by Hurlston, and when the officer came upon them they were preparing a considerable quantity of cocaine for sale in order to make some money. She said this would explain the lack of other evidence found at the men’s homes or on their phones that would be expected of professional dealers.

Finding them guilty of possession with intent to supply, Magistrate Gunn remanded the men in custody, despite their requests for bail until their sentencing hearing scheduled for 28 June. Given the conviction and the fact that they were facing considerable jail time, she said they now presented a flight risk.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (41)

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  1. West Bay Premier says:

    This whole thing sounds like the three stooges, it’s not mine , your fingers prints on it , you put it there .

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I think you have misread part of this article.

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  3. Anonymous A says:

    @751

    I think you have valid points. Look at what CayCompass wrote, and ask yourself the question, why did the police officer handled the drug with his bare hands? That’s not professional.

    CayCompass says:

    “Magistrate Gunn said that defense attorney Richard Barton had sought to prove reasonable doubt by pointing out that NEITHER DEFENDANT’S DNA WAS FOUND ON THE PACKAGES OF COCAINE. The defense also noted that no significant quantities of cash were found on the defendants or at their homes.”

    I don’t know how Gunn could not see reasonable doubt?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how much of that cocaine was ‘stolen’ from the RCIPs evidence container and ended up right back on the streets to “ruin lives”. Imagine all of the ruined lives from cocaine because of the RCIP’s incompetence to secure and protect its seized drugs. Yet, I don’t see any RCIP being held accountable. Zzzzzzzzzzz

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because, it was obviously and inside job. Think about it, an internal investigation was done, but guess by who? DING DING DING! You got it right, the RCIPS! The RCIPS also determined that it was not an inside job. Only in the Cayman Islands can the RCIPS investigate their selves.

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  5. A says:

    “a bly” not Bligh

    CNS: We actually had a discussion about this. I’m going to hand it over to Auntie to investigate.

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    • anonymous says:

      A quick scan of Jamaican newspapers shows it as “bly”, and that is a country where it might be asked for more frequently than in Cayman. However, I prefer “Bligh” which I believe is derived from Captain Bligh, and would involve putting them in a boat without paddles and setting them adrift out of sight of land.

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  6. Tim says:

    Do not bring subject about USA police as we ARE NOT living in USA. This is cayman islands. They made a mistake simple as that.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry, one day they will be able to run for election.

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  8. Two Innocent Men ??? says:

    Something is wrong with this judicial system! I know these men. I know they don’t deal with hard core drugs like cocaine. They smoke and they drink, yes, and the officer may have found a rizzla in Oscar’s pocket. But these men always broadcast where they go when they fish.

    And what is unusual is you have ONE single Police Officer that made the arrest. Ive known of court cases where an officer can plant drugs and make a case before a Judge, and just because he is an officer, the Judge takes his story as the truthful one! This happens all the time in the U.S. Police officers have alot of power and some officers like to get points so to speak – like how many persons they can arrest. Its a score point game for them. Not outrightly condemning this particular officer, but why in the world was this officer working ALONE at Patricks Island??? Isn’t he suppose to have a partner to corroborate the evidence???

    My respects for the Magustrate but it seems like she believes in everything this officer says because he is an officer! I think this case should have been dealt with by a Jury.

    I met one of these men the other dar, and he indicated that the officer found the cocaine. I am not saying that these men don’t smoke and do weed. But I know these men. Who is this officer? These are serious allegations against an officer. And if they are true, we are in a serious situation.

    Again, I know these men. I don’t see them dealing with cocaine. I don’t see it. And they denied it. The only one who saw these packages was the Police Officer! Hmmmm ? Now … our Justice system will have these two men who went fishing, denying the charges, locked away in custody. They have never had a conviction before. I tell you things don’t add up here ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You dont know Jack, he knows.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please, They are coke heads like most ‘broadcasters’ around here. Social media kings, queens and princes of bel-air…they need a real life and ofcourse prison wont offer that. How else can they pay for assiting the cocaine use and fueling the crazy foreinger run market of nightclub and party drug circulations…

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    • West Bay Premier says:

      I have seen a lot of men dressed up in full suits and doing their jobs , and never thought that they did it until , I seen them do it with my two own eyes . That’s why they say seeing is believing .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why would an officer plant a pound & half of cocaine on two persons just for brownie points do you know how much money he could of made by selling it. Your saying you know the persons well a lot of smart persons smoke ganja & sell both.

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      • West Bay Premier says:

        Ask the Officer that question, not me .But it sounds like the deal went south , and that was all he could’ve done .

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    • BELONGER says:

      You must have been smoking ganja, donkey weed and turtle grass all together with these two fools – which affected your thought process.

      If a police officer is going to plant someone with cocaine in the Cayman Islands, do you really believe he/she would do so with over a pound and a half of cocaine on hand ?

      What is the motive to plant someone with such a large amount of cocaine here in the islands ?

      If what you are suggesting or implying had any substance……. the police officer would have taken the cocaine and made it into twenty different portions and planted some of the biggest criminals here in the islands, that they have been chasing for years and can’t seem to catch. Or if the officer was that corrupt, why not try and sell it himself and make some money out of it.

      The magistrate got it right, these two idiots found the cocaine on the beach or at sea and decided to try and make some easy money from it and was preparing it for sale and distribution and got caught red handed.

      As for police officers being down in Patrick Island, they have been stationed down in that area from 2005.

      Don’t you know what happened down in Patrick Island from back in 2005 ?

      Hello !

      I’m guessing, you were a bit too young to remember.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that don’t sell drugs normally but will sell it if they find it on the beach. I know quite a few that got started on crack after they found it many years back. Some that sold it got caught and ended up in jail.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like they saw an opportunity, took it and got caught. Why is that so hard to believe? Every time we read about drugs washing up on the beach. I’v often joked at work about what I would do if I saw drugs washed ashore as I am sure there would be temptation to do exactly what these guys tried to do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I DON’T know these men, but I wondered the same. And the officer didn’t wear gloves?? I’m not getting a “beyond a reasonable doubt” feeling with this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are part of the problem! You should try pulling your head out of your ass so you can breathe.

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    • Anonymous says:

      which one of these men is your man? THE COKE HEADS are going down BOBO and many more to go!!

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      • Believe what you want says:

        Does it have to be their man to mke statements. Maybe one of them is your man and he didn’t want to share with you!

    • Anonymous says:

      They sealed their fate when they tried to use the thing they denied happening as evidence of their innocence.

      If they never asked the officer for a bly then how can they turn around and say the officer isn’t credible because he said he might have looked the other way if it was weed, which was a DIRECT RESPONSE to them asking for a bly??

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Just say ‘NO’ to drugs. It makes good sense.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This what they want for cayman though.
    Fight down the natural Herb to make way for the synthetic life altering drug(s) – cocaine as prime example.

    That is why its so much Gun crime. Robberies. Peeping toms. Rapist. Sex for money, or coke. Woman abusing (contributed to by liquor also to an extent). Plus MANY more SERIOUS jaw dropping crimes occur frequently. Hear hear.

    Proper research of free information only cost time. Ignorance unfortunately is also free and an easy way out for lazy/know-it-all people. Cocaine is sending the folks crazy, worse when they use it to cook crack – dont you all see the many “hittaz”?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    More dumb assess

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  12. Anonymous says:

    More upstanding young men caught as victims of circumstance… Yeah, if you believe that I have a bridge in San Francisco and a statue of a lady in New York harbour to sell you.

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  13. "Anonymousir" says:

    good going CAYMANIANS!! good going. doing stupidness and making life harder for the Caymanians that actually want to work and do something with life. When you hear the CIG stop hiring Caymanians for Civil Servant jobs, you will know! .. GETTING TIRED of hearing Caymanians getting locked up for avoidable shit. Christ, you work for the CIG as a custom or immigration officer, there is only room to grow and get paid more. BUT NO! I’M A BAD ASS, i’m a smuggle some cocaine instead … use my position to my power. THANK YOU! You just made it that much harder for the next Caymanian!! (CRABS IN A BUCKET) THANK YOU!

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    • Anonymous says:

      THEY ARE NOT IMMIGRATION OFFICERS!

      Read the Article again. For all you know they were set up.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Customs and Immigration officers busted were used as an example. These two fools just adding to the growing list of fools who make like harder for Caymanians.

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  14. West Bay Premier says:

    Smart want to be drug dealers, doing their business in a open field . Deserves every minute of their coming prison time .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Very strange, the Magistrate can’t give the Caymanian bail but the expats can get bail and abscond. Some are found with guns or ammo or both and they are given bail. When the illegal boaters are caught with hundreds of pounds of ganja, they are given very lenient sentences. What a twisted world we live in!!

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