Five men jailed for importing 500lbs of ganja

| 10/03/2019 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ganja recovered in the summer of 2018

(CNS): Four Jamaicans and one Caymanian who were convicted of importing 515lbs of ganja last September were all handed jail terms of between 2½ years and just under four years when Magistrate Valdis Foldats delivered his sentencing ruling on Friday. As he handed down the more than 15-year total to the men, he said the narrative in this case was all too familiar. He said the continued drug running from Jamaica to Cayman was being fuelled by a high demand and a lucrative, profitable market for local dealers, which was undermining society.

Foldats noted that Yoandy Ebanks-Swaby, the Cayman connection who went in a smaller vessel to meet the delivery canoe carrying the massive ganja haul, pleaded guilty to the charges. Despite having a lengthy rap sheet, including a firearms offence, he was handed a 34-month prison term.

Christopher Wright, a Jamaican national who was caught by the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit at the same time as Swaby, was the first to admit his part in the drug run. He was given a 30-month sentence.

Oshane Ricketts, Andre Robinson and Nicholas Maxam, all from Jamaica, pleaded not guilty to the charges, even though they were also tracked and located by the JMU. But all three were convicted after a trial and, as a result, they received 42 months each for their part in the smuggling operation.

Foldats said he did not believe any of the convicted men were the mastermind behind the export from Jamaica because in his experience, those higher up the chain rarely risk the dangers of the open sea voyage.

As he handed down the jail terms, the magistrate repeatedly raised his concern about the “destructive drug industry” and the number of canoes coming to Cayman loaded with ganja and other drugs, saying that the smugglers were attracted to the crime by the “lure of fast money”. But, he said, they must understand the harm they do by perpetuating the trade.

Although the same story was repeated over and over again, with drug runners being caught in local waters and the smugglers arrested, charged and jailed for several years, the “corrosive trade” continued.

Magistrate Foldats pointed to the many social ills caused by the illegal but profitable business of drugs, which he said fuelled gangs and violence. He spoke of the families that were torn apart by drug misuse and the children that were neglected while their parents were high or spending what little household income they had on drugs.

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Comments (27)

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  1. Cayman Future says:

    People are hell-bent on legalizing ganja, however, they fail to see the deep rooted social deprivation associated with doing any type of drugs. They fail to see a young generation wasting their opportunities because they are high on drugs.

    Then when foreigners come in with their qualifications and get the jobs, the Govt is blamed.

    BTW GOD will judge those in high places who are facilitating the drug culture. It will turn back against them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Meanwhile we allow alcohol purchases 7 days a week and I can smoke nicotine laced cigarettes on government compounds. You wanna talk god? I heard he hates when you’re lukewarm.

      Don’t be a hypocrite and allow two but not a natural plant with medical benefits recognized worldwide. It was a great anti-anxiety / anti-depressant in college. Yes, I’m a Caymanian with a degree. Did I waste my life on it? Nope.

    • Anonymous says:

      legalization does not increase the percentage of people that use marijuana. It just cuts the crime associated with supply. Marijuana being illegal does not stop people from using it. They just use it behind closed doors and purchase illegally.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The only effect is that the price will go up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Causing it to become more lucrative, luring more people into becoming dealers, increasing the black market supply, which pressures RCIPS to divert more resources, which causes more busts, which causes the price to rise, causing it to become more lucrative… repeat

      • Anonymous says:

        Well as we see in places like Colorado, government red tape, tax and costs to establish a legal weed business are so restrictive, that it is more profitable to continue selling illegally.

        So much for the theory that legalization will “take the profit out of the business” and reduce illegal dealers.

  3. Anonymus says:

    Let’s not forget the many who are working here on work permits also keep our drug dealers in business.

    • Anonymous says:

      If a drug test was a prerequisite for a work permit, CIG would lose lots of money. Ever wondered why it’s not required if it’s against the law to consume prohibited substances? Yet, they lock up their own Caymanians for consuming. One of the only places in the world that you can get thrown in jail if the RCIPS demands a drug test, under suspicion of consumption, and it comes back positive.

      This has been going on for longer than I’ve been on this earth. Then you wonder, why so many Caymanians are unemployable? When you look at the sub-standard education system and then getting thrown into jail (at a young age) for consuming marijuana you have your answer. Yet, all Alden can speak of is a God damned sky scraper. Let’s see if Caymanians have woken up yet. SMH

  4. Anonymous says:

    They should plead not guilty based on the fact that trash is not weed…

  5. Anonymous says:

    500lbs represents probably less than one month’s worth of supply in the Cayman Islands. The RCIPS bust ratio remains suspiciously low. Most of the guns, ammo, cocaine and people get through with ease. There seems to be little judicial disincentive to this trade, with life-changing upside. Unity gov’t and RCIPS, who are well-acquainted with the gangs, their specialties, and their leadership, are disinterested in changing this financial equation. They are delivered these little competitor upstarts every few months to grab a headline and make it seem like they are doing something with their $32mln/year policing budget. These guys will serve less than half their sentence, improve their rank and connections, and will head back to work again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Legalize and use profits for the failing public schools. After school programs, mentoring, better teachers, infrastructure… list goes on. But hey, maybe it is easier to let lowlifes smuggle it in with guns instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t be fooled. With out this type of activity lots civil servants would be out of a job. The RCIPS to be exact.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The biggest crime they committed was risking their lives at sea to import some crappy bush weed!

  8. Anonymous says:

    That ain’t weed anymore it’s a block of turd. Thanks for protecting against this dangerous man eating plant.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman sucks, if you don’t admit it you will never get better.

  10. Juniper says:

    That is not ganja that is horse sh!t

  11. Anonymous says:

    Legalize it so that it can be placed behind a regulated counter like tobacco and alcohol. The USA tried banning alcohol and all it did was create black market Billionaires. Let’s keep the money in our coffers like Canada.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Magistrate Foldats pointed to the many social ills caused by the illegal but profitable business of drugs, which he said fuelled gangs and violence. He spoke of the families that were torn apart by drug misuse and the children that were neglected while their parents were high or spending what little household income they had on drugs.”

    The Caymanian connection has a “lengthy rap sheet, including for firearms”.

    Yet they get slap on the wrist sentences for attempting to import 500 POUNDS! Makes no sense!

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