Pamplin admits role in $15m drug plot
Dennis Pamplin, the estranged husband of UBP politician Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, has admitted plotting to possess and distribute $15 million worth of marijuana destined for Bermuda.
Pamplin, an American citizen, has been in custody since his arrest in July 2008. He is due to be sentenced in March.
Narcotics officers arrested him in July 2008 alongside another American, Brian Henry.
The arrests came after undercover police and special agents swooped on a New Jersey warehouse after a months-long surveillance operation.
According to a 2008 statement from New Jersey's Drug Enforcement Agency, the men were brought in for questioning after a police dog sniffed out a large amount of marijuana hidden inside concrete pillars at the warehouse.
Following their arrests, Pamplin was charged with conspiring with others to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana with an estimated street value in Bermuda of $15 million.
Court papers say the plot spanned the period 2006 to July 2008.
He also faced a second charge, that on or about July 15 2008, he and co-conspirators possessed approximately 318 kilograms of marijuana with intent to distribute it.
Pamplin maintained his not guilty plea in respect of that charge, which prosecutors accepted.
According to a spokesman for the court dealing with tthe case, Manhattan's Southern District Court, there was no plea deal.
Henry had previously admitted his role in the drugs conspiracy and also to being a gun runner.
During a hearing at the same court in December 2008, he pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiring to distribute narcotics - cocaine and marijuana - and the illegal importation of firearms.
The offences took place between 2001 and 2008.
According to court documents, Henry told investigators he oversaw the packing of approximately five shipments, which contained marijuana weighing a total of approximately 2,100 lbs, or approximately 955 kilograms, which were destined for Bermuda.
According to a statement from Stephen Casey, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2008: “Henry stated that after the marijuana was packaged, Pamplin arranged for each shipment to be transported overseas to Bermuda, via the Port of Newark, New Jersey.”
Court documents do not specify the circumstances of the gun running. However, the charge Henry has admitted of illegally importing guns states: “From in or about 2002 through in or about 2004, in the District of New Jersey and elsewhere, Brian Henry, the defendant, not being a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, and licensed dealer unlawfully, willfully and knowingly, did engage in the business of dealing in firearms, and in the course of such business, did receive and transport firearms in interstate and foreign commerce.”
Henry is due to be sentenced in April.
Superintendent Andrew Boyce of Bermuda Police Service said of the case yesterday: “We were providing support to the US investigation.”
He said further details about the case would have to be requested from the US authorities.
However, he recapped comments he originally made at the time of the arrests, when he said: “This operation is a clear indication of the long and productive relationship between the DEA and the Bermuda Police Service. The quantity of drugs seized is very significant from the Bermuda perspective.”
He had no knowledge of the firearms allegations relating to Henry.
Special Agent Douglas Collier, of the Drugs Enforcement (DEA) Administration in Newark, said he could not speak about the investigation until after the men have been sentenced.
Neither of the defendants' lawyers returned calls for comment, nor did Ms Gordon Pamplin.