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Businessman on multimillion-dollar cocaine rap offered bail

Published:Thursday | March 17, 2022 | 12:08 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

ROHAN CUMMINGS, the western Jamaica businessman who was arrested and charged earlier this month after reportedly being held with US$850,000 (J$130 million) worth of cocaine inside a bus he was driving, was offered bail when he made his first appearance in the St. James Parish Court Wednesday.

Cummings, 55, of Berkshire, Westmoreland, and Cambridge, St James, addresses, pleaded not guilty to the charges of possession of, dealing in, trafficking, and conspiracy to traffic 17 kilograms of cocaine when he appeared before Parish Judge Sasha Ashley.

During Cummings’ bail hearing, his attorney, Henry McCurdy, told the court that his client denied any knowledge of the drugs and that Cummings had borrowed the bus from another individual prior to his arrest.

Meanwhile, the prosecution indicated that it was not opposed to bail for the defendant, provided reporting conditions were attached to any offer. The court was also told that the prosecution’s case file was incomplete, as the Communication Forensics and Cybercrime Unit report and the scene-of-crime statement were outstanding.

Judge Ashley subsequently offered bail to Cummings in the sum of $750,000 with two sureties and ordered him to report three times weekly to the Cambridge Police Station. As part of his bail conditions, Cummings was also ordered to surrender his travel documents. A travel ban was also imposed.

The case was then set for mention on July 14, at which time it is expected that the outstanding documents will be submitted to complete the prosecution’s case file.

The allegations are that on March 7, at 2:45 p.m., Cummings was driving the Toyota Hiace bus along the Long Hill main road in St James when he was stopped by a police team. The bus was searched and the cocaine was found in the left-hand and right-hand panels of the vehicle.

Under caution, Cummings claimed that he had borrowed the bus in order to pay a visit his granddaughter. He was taken into custody and interviewed, following which he was later arrested and charged with breaching the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Cummings’ case is the most recent cocaine-related matter to appear before the courts in western Jamaica, with several others emerging in the past few months.

Among those before the St James Parish Court is the matter of Cameryn Harris-Love, an American who allegedly tried to smuggle $15 million worth of cocaine out of Jamaica via the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on December 4, 2021. Her case was set for trial on March 4 and 8 this year.

Another case of note is the joint matter of Jason Wedderburn, Elvis Johnson, and Daniel Hanson, three fishermen who were arrested in connection with the seizure of 1,000lb of cocaine off the coast of St Elizabeth on November 22, 2021.

The cocaine seized by the police during that operation was valued at $1 billion.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com