(CMR) David Karl Lobo (33), a former customs officer convicted in a cocaine smuggling ring with four other men earlier this year was sentenced to 16 years today in Grand Court.
It was alleged that he was involved in the importation of 1.8 kilograms of cocaine in June 2017. The sentence reflects that Justice Linda Dobbs believes Lobo was a key player in the operation despite being found not guilty of the conspiracy charges. The judge said he played a “leading role”.
Lobo organized much of the travel and items that the smugglers needed once they arrived on the island. All of the other co-accused turned state witnesses and either plead guilty and/or testified against Lobo at his trial. Lobo had maintained his innocence throughout.
The Bodden Town residence was expected to get a lengthy sentence after being found guilty in relation to an cocaine smuggling case. His lawyer, Amelia Fosuhene, spent last week arguing that he was previously of good character.
However, prosecutors noted that he stood to earn more than CI$90,000 if he was not apprehended by the authorities.
Lobo was convicted of importation of cocaine following a lengthy jury trial that ended in January, and Justice Dobbs said Friday that he had attempted to purchase the drugs and profit from them. At the time Lobo was a customs officer, employed by that government department.
Justice Dobbs also sentenced Lesme Perez Ruiz and Alan Taylor Dominguez, both of whom were characterised as “middle man” in the transaction. They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine and importing cocaine and provided evidence that helped convict Lobo.
Justice Dobbs noted that both defendants had provided “significant assistance” to the crown. Ruiz was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, while Dominguez received a four-year sentence.
Jose Leonardo Parra Ferrini and Yoandry Morales Molina – who pleaded guilty to ingesting condoms full of cocaine and expelling them upon arrival in Cayman – were both sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.