800lbs of ganja lands deck hands in jail

| 12/06/2019 | 15 Comments
Cayman News Service

Boat seized by the JMU

(CNS): Two Jamaica nationals who assisted in the smuggling of more than 800lbs of ganja were given around 2½ years jail time each by a magistrate on Tuesday. Xavier Shane Watson (40) and Malson Campbell (66) were arrested and charged in March after the boat they were on was chased, rammed and fired on by the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit before it was intercepted and the drugs recovered from the sea some 11 miles off the north coast of Grand Cayman. The two men pleaded guilty to the charges while a third man, Dalton Alphonso Wright, is set to face trial later this year.

Watson, who received a sentence of 30 months, and Campbell, 28 months, both admitted their part in the smuggling operation as soon as they were taken into custody and made no attempt to deny knowing about the drugs.

They told police they had assisted with loading the boat they were on after they collected the ganja off the coast of Jamaica from another vessel. Both farmers, the men said they were employed as deck hands helping with the delivery of the “boat load of ganja”, as it was described in court, for a small fee. Prosecutors said that the haul had a street value of almost CI$1 million.

The court heard that Watson also has children here in Cayman, but because he was deported some time ago after a theft charge he was unable to return to see them legally. His defence attorney stated he was motivated to join in the drug operation so he could also get to see his children, having learned that their mother could not look after them and they were at risk of being taken into care.

Campbell was said to have a crime-free record, with four grown professional children, including two doctors and a son who is a Jamaican politician, but he had agreed to take part in the smuggling operation to get the money he needed to invest in his farm.

As Magistrate Valdis Foldats handed down the jail terms, having given both men discounts for their early admissions and other mitigating factors, he said that this type of offending was happening over and over again with the same pattern of behaviour.

He said the haul, if it had not been intercepted, would have done much harm by ending up on our streets fuelling social problems, including parental neglect of children and encouraging young people into criminal activity. He described the drug as “corrosive to our society” and said the men had played a part in this criminal for-profit smuggling that destroys people’s lives.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This issue is not about ganja or its uses. It is about border security. The volume of 2,000 lbs of ganja on a boat can accommodate dangerous chemicals, weapons and criminals. When we give people who smuggle a slap on the wrist for this very dangerous activity, we incentivise more of the same behavior. Are we serious about securing Cayman in this very dangerous neighbourhood of the Caribbean? Then put these people away for a very long time, every time they are caught and consider ways of increasing the penalties to the source countries.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    the problem with drugs, alcohol and even speeding in a vehicle is knowing when to stop. if you can control your habit, know when is the right time its no issue but legalizing a drug that will have a massive impact on people with mental issues will cause some serious problems in society. its ok saying “I love to smoke weed and chill on my porch” same with ” I love a few beers after work”. you pose no risk but those who cant stop drinking for the “high” will now simply smoke weed for their even bigger “high”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sammeh addressed you below, did you even read this part of his comment?

      ” If cigarettes were made illegal, would Caymanians stop smoking, or try to grow and smuggle tobacco? Ponder that if you support the war against Cannabis.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    The lack of understanding and prejudice to an innocent plant.
    We only need to look in our kitchen for all the dangers to lives.
    Canabis if consume properly and for the right reasons do produce a psychological and conscious high.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Ask yourselves this, why is it that scumbags like this import illegal substances like ganja into these islands? Because there’s a market for it. If there wasn’t, they just as well off load it into the sea. So who is to blame? The dealers or the consumers? ….answer: The consumer. If there were no consumer there would be no dealers. As long as you want this stuff in your system for god knows what reason, there will always be dealers. Wake up you sad cases, get an education which will lead to a job, and earn an honest days living. Why on earth would you want addictive poison in your bodies. Can’t you function any other way. Clean your mind and lives up and bring up your children who are the future of these islands, in the right way. If you don’t, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as the saying goes. In other words, children will only turn out the way their parents behave.

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    • MKE says:

      I have a degree in finance, all my bills are paid easily and brew cannabis tea daily after work to relax. Much healthier alternative to alcohol, and we legally recognize this FACT. Why allow the worse one and not both?

      Don’t judge a book by its cover is a saying for a reason.

      You said it yourself, there’s a huge market for it here. Regulate the demand or drug lords will exploit it by smuggling it or growing it indoors here. Plants can grow off of artificial light..

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      • Anonymous says:

        You may have a finance degree 5.05pm but like they say, all brains and no common sense! You obviously inadvertently have admitted that you need illegal drugs in your system to be able to relax????
        My advice is go visit your Doctor as you are in need of a safe medication to help combat this “stress” you seem to be enduring. Either that or you are bored, not working hard enough and have too much time on your hands. I’m sure arriving home from any stressful job and putting your feet up with your loved ones is surely enjoyment in itself. Why would you consume any drug which makes you incoherent and not fully aware of what’s going on around you and certainly limits your capabilities. This is why so much crime and serious/fatal accidents happen on this island. Get a grip!! Grow up and be someone your children and family can look up to. Because all your children will do is follow your example and turn out to be smack heads and your parents look down on you as a disappointment.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You sound like you have zero personal experience with the plant.

          I have 100x more control with the plant than under the influence of alcohol which is currently legal to purchase 7 days a week.

          Who are you to tell me I must live happily without drugs when my bosses brew a plant to extract huge cups of caffeine every two hours to stay awake?

          Who are you to tell me I can’t relax myself with a naturally brewed tea instead of taking synthetic Lorazepam pills? I don’t like smoking or taking those pills! Those pills can make you get into an accident just like one of our Judges did!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Marijuana shouldn’t be illegal to begin with, let’s start there.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Smoking cigarettes is a public health crisis and so is alcohol. Legalizing cannabis is akin to pouring gasoline on the fire. Research the medical/mental health crisis that those States in America that have gone down this route are experiencing a year or more later.

    Ask the parents of the many children whose future have been irreparable damaged that have used this lethal drug, what do they think about legalizing ganja?

    What would it do to our family-friendly tourism sector?

    What I found astonishing from the article is the perpetual light sentences that these traffickers get that is neither a deterrent nor an incentive to give up the dealers; hence, as soon as they serve the less than actual sentence they get back on a boat with a load of ganja destined to destroy the lives of a generation of our young people.

    Trust me, I have seen lives destroyed by this and other drugs, including legal drugs.

    Yes, the battle seems endless and unwinnable but giving up is not an option.

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    • Andrew says:

      What irreparable damage is associated with this “lethal drug” you speak of?
      Since Marijuana was legalized Colorado for nearly 7 years their has been ALOT of research despite the many restrictions and regulations for clinical studies on canabis.
      Research has found that yes canabis can be addictive, limit productivity, an increased libido, alleviate/eliminate chronic pain and insomnia. No definite research has concluded the canabis is a major health risk nor is it a panacea.

      However it was discovered to effect the brain development of adolescent children and teenagers, the part of the brain responsible for self control and planning. With that being said , it was only recently that researchers were able to conduct studies on canabis so there is a lot more to learn. Also please note that there are many strains of canabis with varied levels of THC and CBD. As higher levels in either have varied effects such as higher THC strains when consumed produced a psychological high and higher levels of CBD produced a sedative “body” high (pain relief.)

      We will only learn more about canabis with time. If I’m not mistaken we used to use talcum powder all the time. Later only to discover that talc in its raw form can contain asbestos which is known to cause cancer.

      With anything is life moderation is the key to anything. Literally anything in excess can be harmful, (thats precisely what too much means.) I believe as adults we should have the right to choose what we consume whether it be for medical or personal use.
      And the source of my findings were from the meeting that took placer just last year at a conference hosted by the Society for Neuroscience.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am another Caymanian under 25 who enjoys cannabis here and there and make over 3k a month. How is my life being destroyed? My employer is aware and doesn’t care as long as I show up sober which is extremely easy to always do.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    i can bet that boat is probably stolen? rcip?

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  7. Sammeh says:

    “He said the haul, if it had not been intercepted, would have done much harm by ending up on our streets fuelling social problems, including parental neglect of children and encouraging young people into criminal activity.”

    I respectfully disagree for good reason and would love to read any refute.

    1) Parental neglect because of Cannabis? So legally buying alcohol 7 days a week doesn’t cause parental neglect and alcoholics aren’t a thing then yea? Why the double standard? It’s medically proven to be a safer alternative to alcohol, so allow it too or ban them all.

    2) Encouraging young people into criminal activity? If it was regulated, the main source would be from Caymanian farmers who supply Caymanian dispensary owners to supply the public from behind a controlled counter. Instead we leave it in the hands of connected Jamaican drug dealers who profit from selling to anyone, including minors under peer pressure.
    While it won’t stop it entirely like underage drinking, it is an effective barrier that currently doesn’t exist.

    It is evident that there is no shortage of smugglers making $200 usd/month who are looking for a quick $2000. Legalize, regulate and tax like tobacco to kill the million dollar black market.

    TL;DR: If cigarettes were made illegal, would Caymanians stop smoking, or try to grow and smuggle tobacco? Ponder that if you support the war against Cannabis.

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