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Sangster airport quartet gets new date in cocaine case

Published:Friday | November 12, 2021 | 12:05 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


The four Sangster International Airport employees who were arrested and charged last month after they were allegedly caught trying to smuggle 11.4 kilogrammes of cocaine on to an aircraft destined for Canada had their bails extended to January 31, 2022, when they appeared in the St James Parish Court on Wednesday.The quartet, ramp attendants, 28-year-old Tavon Murray; and 35-year-old Romaine Kerr, 23-year-old aviation security officer Brelanie Reid; and 43-year-old security supervisor Indra Waite, were given their new court date by presiding parish judge, Sasha Ashley. During Wednesday’s proceedings, Waite’s attorney, Henry McCurdy, requested that several documents in the possession of the prosecution be shared with him to aid him in formulating his client’s defence.“I am requesting all paperwork on the flight, so we will need the manifesto, the baggage reclaim sheet, the security guard deployment sheet, the ramp agent deployment sheet, the CCTV footage for the aircraft, the estimated time of arrival and departure time of the flight, and any other documents that would be able to assist us,” McCurdy told Judge Ashley.In addition, Murray’s lawyer, Michael Hemmings, made an application for his client’s work ID card, which had been taken from him following his arrest, be returned to him. It was subsequently disclosed that the card was in the custody of the airport authorities and could be reclaimed from them.Meanwhile, the prosecution told the court that a number of statements have been requested from the authorities in Canada, where the cocaine was reportedly discovered after the flight’s arrival. It was also revealed that the defendants’ cell phones are to be submitted for analysis. The forensic certificate and CCTV footage are said to be outstanding.

Murray, Kerr, Reid, and Waite were subsequently ordered to submit their fingerprints to the police before being allowed to leave the courtroom.According to the allegations, on October 10, the four defendants were servicing a Sun Wing flight that was scheduled to depart from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, to the Toronto Pearson Airport in Canada. They reportedly conspired together and placed a bag with 11.4 kilograms of cocaine, valued at US$570,000 (J$88.1 million) on board the aircraft.The cocaine was allegedly intercepted at the airport in Canada and one person was arrested in relation to the seizure. Following top-level investigations, which involved the input of Jamaica’s Narcotics Division, the four accused, who are all of St James addresses, were arrested and charged. Kerr is charged with possession of, dealing in, and exporting cocaine, while Reid is charged with breaching the Civil Aviation Act and conspiracy to export cocaine. Waite is charged with conspiracy to export cocaine, possession of criminal property, and aiding and abetting, and Murray is charged with conspiracy to export cocaine.