(CMR) The Customs Department has announced the arrests of a 24-year-old and a 43-year-old Cayman nationals as well as a 22-year-old American national for various drug offences.
Acting Assistant Collector of Customs Mr. Trevor Tummings of the Customs Narcotics Enforcement Team stated that the arrests were a result of three separate incidents where Customs Officers intercepted importation of various drugs.
The first was on Thursday, 19 July 2018 at the Airport Post Office Parcel Post Section where a 24-year-old male collected a parcel. The contents of the parcel were declared as supplements but Customs officers became suspicious and upon further inspection of the parcel it was discovered that the items was a controlled drug.
The man was arrested for suspicion of smuggling and importation of a controlled drug. Following the arrest the man’s vehicle was searched and vegetable matter resembling ganja was discovered.
The second arrest was on Friday, 20 July 2018 at the Owen Roberts International Airport, where a 43-year-old female arriving on Cayman Airways flight # 607 from Kingston Jamaica was found to be in possession of two packages containing vegetable matter resembling ganja. After the woman arrived she collected her baggage and proceeded to exit the Customs Arrivals Hall through the Customs green channel.
Officers profiling passengers became suspicious and referred the woman to secondary for a more thorough examination of her baggage. The woman was presented with a Customs Declaration Form and given a final opportunity to make an honest declaration.
Customs officers then proceeded with a thorough search of her luggage and discovered two packets containing vegetable matter resembling ganja. The woman was arrested for importation and possession of ganja.
The third arrest was on Saturday, 21 July 2018 at the Owen Roberts International Airport where a 22 year old male arriving on United Airline flight # 1258 from Dulles, Washington DC was found to be in possession a vegetable matter resembling ganja.
The man was proceeding through the green channel where officers profiling passengers became suspicious and referred him to secondary for a more thorough examination of his baggage and person.
The individual was given a final opportunity to make an honest declaration and subsequently his baggage was x-rayed and upon a thorough examination officers recovered a vegetable matter resembling ganja. The man was arrested for importation and possession of ganja.
Mr. Tummings said the investigations continue.
Assistant Collector of Customs, Ms Gidget Powell, who is in charge of the airport Customs operations reminded that the recent policy change removes the requirement for inbound passengers to complete and sign a Customs declaration form, unless they have exceeded their CI$350 allowance or other established allowances for alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco.
This was done to facilitate a smoother and efficient flow of passengers and baggage through the Customs Arrivals Hall at the Owen Roberts International Airport.
However, Ms Powell warned that Customs officers now focus on possible greater national security threats with an intelligence-led risk management approach at all Cayman Islands border controls.
“It’s very important for travellers to be aware that entering the Customs green channel will be considered to be a declaration that the passenger has nothing to declare.”
Ms Powell added, “When Customs Officers on duty have the opinion that a particular passenger is not being honest about the declaration or intends to commit criminal offences, the person will be referred to secondary for a more thorough examination. Any passenger found to be in breach of our laws could face arrest and prosecution for criminal offences.”