June 20, 2019
(CMR) Cayman Marl Road has exclusively learned that Caymanian businessman Gilroy Bryce Merren (52) has returned to the Cayman Islands today to complete the remainder of his jail sentence for drug conspiracy.
He was escorted to Her Majesty's Prison Service after being collected from the airport last evening after arriving on the Cayman Airway’s flight home last night. Merren apparently is now eligible for parole and will be remaining in Northward prison until a parole hearing date.
Merren was serving a nine-year jail sentence in Georgia after being transferred to a Puerto Rico jail. He pleaded guilty in December 2014 to conspiring to distribute 50 kilograms and 150kg of cocaine via an operation he attempted to set up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The local businessman, who was arrested following a sting operation, was also been fined $75,000.
Merren had attempted to appeal his sentence in 2016 but eventually dropped the appeal the following year. He was attempting to argue that his attorney did not perform his duties in accordance with his professional responsibilities.
At the time prosecutors said Merren, who was 47 at the time, would have faced between 11 and 14 years’ imprisonment, according to federal sentencing guidelines, but that his attorney negotiated a plea bargain down to nine years, based on certain terms. Part of the plea agreement, according to court records, was that Merren agreed to waive his right to appeal his conviction or his sentence.
Merren had argued for a lighter sentence following his guilty plea but during the sentencing hearing in San Juan, presided over by Judge Carmen Cerezo, pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears.
At the time of his arrest in 2014 the case brought shock waves throughout the local community. Many were surprised that the well known Merren was involved in a drug conspiracy. Court records show that he made US$12,500 monthly, before his arrest, as a director of a local food wholesale and import company.
During his sentencing hearing, Merren apologized to his family, friends and loved ones for “dishonoring their name and shaming them in this way.”
“For the rest of my life, I’ll probably be stared at, pointed out in the crowd and [be] the subject of whispered conversations,” he said during the June 2015 sentencing hearing. “That in itself will be a sentence for me for the rest of my life.”
This is a developing story and additional details will be added once available.