Witnesses lied to cut their own jail time, says lawyer

| 02/01/2019 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

David Lobo

(CNS): Two men who have pleaded guilty to a cocaine smuggling conspiracy lied when they gave evidence in court last month, the lawyer representing customs officer David Lobo (33) told a jury Wednesday, as she urged them to look closely at the evidence when they deliberate the case. As Amelia Fosuhene summed up her client’s defence, she said that some of the evidence presented by the crown may look suspicious but they must ask themselves if there were other explanations, and pointed to Lobo’s claims that he knew nothing about drug smuggling and was importing Colombian artifacts. 

Lobo is charged with being involved in a drug smuggling operation in which at around two kilos of liquid cocaine was smuggled into Cayman via Cuba by a drug gang based in Colombia using mules who had swallowed the condom-wrapped drugs and expelled them at a Seven Mile Beach condo last year.

Allan Taylor Dominguez (46) and Lesme Romualdo Perez Ruiz (51), believed to be the organisers of the conspiracy, as well as Jose Leonardo Parra Ferrini (32) and Yoandry Jose Morales Molina (22), the mules who swallowed the packages, have all been charged and pleaded guilty.

Dominguez and Ruiz both gave evidence that Lobo was the person who was buying the cocaine, but Fosuhene highlighted the inconsistent and contradictory evidence given by the smugglers, who she said were “pointing the finger at David Lobo in order to get a discount on their own sentences”, noting that their jail time could be cut by as much as 75% by helping the prosecution.

Lobo admits knowing the men and buying supplies for them, organising accommodation, sending them money and engaging in frequent communications in what the crown said was the drug operation. But Lobo has consistently claimed this was about importing gold statues and artifacts from the pre-Columbian era.

The lawyer asked the jury to be discerning about what the prosecution had claimed were the facts and to look closely at the detail of the evidence, especially where there might be another explanation for what the crown had suggested was an indication of Lobo’s guilt. She urged them to get inside the head of a drug dealer because there were many things that did not make sense.

During the summary of the crown’s case, Patrick Moran, the acting director of public prosecutions, had told the jury that there was very little dispute in the case about the facts and they all added up to powerful evidence that Lobo was at the heart of the conspiracy.

He pointed out that if Lobo was not involved with the drugs and was merely importing art, then a group of drug dealers was taking an enormous risk. He said they were associating with and giving an enormous amount of information and “solid evidence” of drug smuggling to a customs officer in Cayman whom they barely knew but who was “actively providing them with assistance”, including pictures of what looked like wrapped blocks of cocaine.

Moran said that if Lobo was not involved then they were taking a massive risk, when there was evidence that these were experienced traffickers who carefully planned the operation.

Following the judge’s summation, the jury is expected to begin deliberations on Thursday.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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