I soon learned who was trustworthy on the island and who wasn't for business.
(CMR) The tantalizing book In Too Deep: How an American Teen Became a Pioneer Boss of the International Drug Trade, by Caymanian drug kingpin, Leigh Ritch continues to capture the attention of many in the Cayman Islands. As persons are continuing through the book they are discovering that many individuals and businesses directly benefited from Ritch's generosity.
At some point, he decided to return to Cayman to keep the head off of him sharing that he had the benefit of having both passports and knew that in Cayman he would be safe. Sharing his logic he noted that:
“I figured I'd go back to the Cayman Islands where I was definitely safe. The authorities couldn't bother me down there since I have two passports. There was no extradition back then.”
He noted that being in Cayman back in those days was “essentially still stuck on a rock.” So he starting investing in local businesses to “keep from losing my mind”.
Ritch's life on the island was fraught with mingling with many local persons who simply wanted a piece of the pie or a handout. In fact, he shared how now Speaker of the House and West Bay West politician, McKeeva Bush, came to him for several business loans. The first business was a seafood restaurant called Aunt Sal's which was located at the four-way stop in West Bay.
He later approached him again wanting more money to open up a tourist business renting “little Yamaha scooters”. He observed that
“over time with these guys, you find that you never see a dime return on your investment. I don't even think I got so much as a free lobster dinner for investing in the restaurant.”
Many locals have found this book to bring them back to a nostalgic time when Cayman was booming and shared with CMR that many local businesses either got seed money from Ritch's generosity or received a sizable cash injection. One well-connected source shared that he “knows for a fact” that the smallest loan that was given out to some was around $10 million.
Regardless of the size, it appears that businesses of all sizes and shapes were benefactors of the illicit funds. In fact, the breadth of businesses covers property businesses, family enterprises, grocery stores and shopping plazas. After all, as one astute person observed:
“when you have that much drug money what else can you do with it? So everyone knew he was loaded, a kind-hearted man who was willing to give out a lot of hard cold cash.”
He also shared the story of a boat he bought for his cousin, Armand, that was to be used for shipping along the Honduran coast. However, when a “big-time smuggler” out of San Andres, Colombia that ran out of fuel and other supplies needed s some assistance he asked Armand to take the boat what they needed. However, their 40-foot, Sugarfoot ran into some issues coming back ashore and sank and proved to be another investment down the drain.
He also shared how he began investing in the local condo market buying pre-construction beachfront units which provided to be lucrative.
The following Apple podcasts share part of Ritch's stories: