Amateur Jamaican smugglers all jailed

| 10/09/2019 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service
Martin Trench

(CNS): Despite being novices at drug smuggling, four Jamaican men have each been handed jail sentences ranging from two years to 32 months, a year after they were apprehended at sea with over 450lbs of ganja. Martin Trench (33), Basil Smith (46), Andre Russell (34) and Kendal Straumann (32) have been in jail since they were arrested last September after the boat they were in was spotted 27 miles off Grand Cayman by the police chopper.

All four men had pleaded guilty to a single count of illicit trafficking of ganja with intent to land in Cayman and were give a discount of 33% on their sentences.

After that credit, the judge handed down the longest sentence of 32 months to Trench, who has previous convictions here in Cayman relating to drugs and illegal landing, and a 28-month sentence to Smith, who has also previously landed illegally here. Strauman and Russell, who had no previous convictions, were given sentences of 26 and 24 months respectively.

The judge recommended that all of the men be deported as soon as they have served their time and ordered the confiscation of the unregistered canoe which the men were in when they were caught trying to throw the drugs overboard.

The men all said that they ended up getting involved in the foiled smuggling attempt after being promised a job on a fishing boat, but when they turned up, they all learned that this was not a fishing trip. Each man decided to continue with the ‘job’ anyway, but once on board the men, who claimed to be strangers to each other until that moment, soon learned that none of them had any navigational experience and had little idea where to go or what to do.

All four men told social workers here that they were desperate for money as they had not been able to find secure work in Jamaica and had been promised several thousand dollars to take the drugs. However, the judge was not very sympathetic and told them that financial difficulties are almost always the motivation when it comes to drug smuggling.

Justice Marva McDonald Bishop echoed comments made by Magistrate Valdis Foldats on more than one occasion about the all too familiar narrative of Jamaican drug smugglers and the prevalence of this crime now in Cayman, so much so that drug canoes have been interdicted on an almost weekly basis in recent times.

“There is no question it’s a serious offence,” the judge stated, as she began handing sentences in excess of four years before giving the men credit for their admissions and considering each on their own mitigating circumstances. “The importation of ganja is a scourge on the islands,” she added.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If you’re going to comment, at least spell Jamaican properly. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As others have said, amateur is hardly the correct word to describe two people who have already been caught in the act.

    Statistically speaking, it’s hard to imagine someone getting caught three times in a row, so they should really have been charged for successfully bringing ten times that amount into the Cayman Islands.

  3. Moi says:

    Only 2yrs! Ridiculous. Guess it was worth it.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a medically recognized plant that is going to be federally legal in a few years. Anyone who has been following law in other jurisdictions can clearly see the trend. 25% of the USA is fully legal. 10 years ago that was a dream.

      Legal states have proven the benefits –

      highly reduced black market,
      regulated quality (no pesticides),
      increased employment,
      literally billions in revenue from taxes and tourism,
      reduced strain on law enforcement and court resources,
      alternatives to addictive pain killers (opioids) and antidepressants,
      Reduced teen use,
      shall I continue?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are with one point here about legalizing ganja: reduced stress on law enforcement and court resources. The others are still questionable and doesn’t apply to everyone, just like cigatette smoking caused some to die from lung cancer and some ppl who didn’t smoke die from lung cancer. So medicinal for some and addictive or recreational use for the others. But these not-so-Novice fools should’ve taken it to the US where it is legal instead of trying it get it here illegal (we all better than that, they had something rlse on their agenda other than smuggling weed in here). But Im glad they were caught, at the Marine Unit cops are working for their paycheck and doing all they’re supposed to do!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Putting them in jail here is like setting them up in a condo. with all the perks, food, water, medical etc. etc.. A better standard of living at our expense, so there is not deterrent for them and others to stop the illegal activities. We have to pay for them to be jailed in their own country, Honduras or Cuba.

  5. Al Catraz says:

    Amateur Jamaican smugglers? Are they amateur smugglers of Jamaicans, or smugglers of amateur Jamaicans? And why would you smuggle Jamaicans, amateur or not?

    • Anonymous says:

      Pedantically aside, how are these guys to be distinguished from professional Jamaican smugglers? Is it getting caught that makes you an amateur?

      • Anonymous says:

        Apparently, although 2 have previous convictions for illegal landing and one of those for drugs. Doesn’t sound that amateur to me.

      • Al Catraz says:

        They aren’t allowed to compete in professional smuggling events?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really amateurs, are they? 2 of them have landed illegally before so they know where the island is and 1 of them has some sort of record for drugs. My guess is they’re pretending to be amateurs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Legalize it

    • Anonymous says:

      Legalize it you say.. the Jamacian demons will profit more.

      • Anonymous says:

        Back in the 80s I grew my own on my farm.

        You think I’d ever buy this garbage they always bring in if I could legally grow a few plants for myself?

        I’ve watched us fail at stopping weed from being sold in Cayman for 40 years while Canada has legalized it.

        It is about time we at least decriminalize it for the youth who make dumb choices. Rather them go make some brownies with it than go out drinking.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jamaican demons? Really? SMH.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please , I beg of you, spell Jamaican properly, please.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, you would have thought that by now with the resources that RCIPS has, they could actually monitor one of these shipments and see catch the people collecting the ganja from these guys and no just the ones bringing it. Duh

  8. L.D. says:

    The obvious. Without a buyer the vendor goes broke. Illegal drugs have created a dependent group of businesses. Judges, Juries, Police, Prison Guards, and all that supports them. A appearance of a war on drugs is a war lost before it began. No one would profit if society won.

  9. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to just stop the foolishness and just allow Caymanians to get a license to grow for personal use? Kill off the demand.

    These guys are paid thousands for a run when minimum wage is $200 usd over there. Not to mention, agriculture is a main industry on their west coast.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t they catch the cocaine smugglers? Hmmmmm

  11. Anonymous says:

    It’s a plant not a scourge. Get a grip.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one in documented history has ever overdosed on marijuana. If you can prove that they did, I will donate $100 (more) to the red cross on your behalf.

    • Anonymous says:

      Truly…just a mere plant…in reality!

      • Anonymous says:

        Just like the coca leaf, or the opium poppy

        • Anonymous says:

          Cocaine needs to be chemically extracted from the plant, typically achieved through the use of gasoline or other carcinogens. Likewise for heroin.

          Cannabis is simply grown in the ground like a regular plant with sun, soil and water. Cut it down, dry it for a week then brew some anti-depressant tea. Enjoy.

          You’re quite literally comparing apples to gasoline.

          • Anonymous says:

            Who mentioned cocaine or heroin? Chew coca leaves, cut the poppy and smoke the opium resin. You are the one comparing apples to gasoline. Just because a plant can be refined to make stronger drugs doesn’t mean you can ignore the narcotic qualities of the unrefined plant by saying ” its just a plant” . Marijuana is a plant, sure but so is coca and opium, and both are narcotic (and illegal) in their unrefined form.

            • Anonymous says:

              You sound like the type to compare a mint tree to machineel.

              “both are plants, both must be bad, so don’t brew mint”

              Illegal? We already legally recognize the medical benefits of Cannabis in the Cayman Islands.

            • Anonymous says:

              Sometimes I wish my boss would smoke one and just chill out. Sooooooo angry every single day. DO THIS NOW WHY AREN’T You..

              Jeez man

  12. Anonymous says:

    “after the boat they were in was spotted 27 miles off Grand Cayman by the police chopper.”. Our super heroes again. I bet there are a few people hoping they stay in the Bahamas.

    • Anonymous says:

      why the law never has no interest in who these little guys are working for?

      • Anonymous says:

        My sentiments exactly!!! Someone paid for the weed to be brought here, it wouldn’t leave Ja with an IOU stamp.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about the guys that they were bringing the drugs to ???!

        • Anonymous says:

          You expect them to arrest themselves? Keeping it illegal gives them an actual “job” to do rather than staying at customs HQ and finding ways to create more paperwork and red tape.

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