Customs officer tells court how drugs were found in cargo pallet
A Customs officer detailed how cannabis was found hidden in a shipment of dinnerware sent to Bermuda on a cargo jet.
Truck driver James Walker, 51, is on trial accused of participating in a plot to bring in the $45,450-worth of drugs, which weighed more than 1.5 kilograms.
Prosecutor Takiyah Burgess has told the jury the cannabis arrived in a consignment attached to a blue wooden pallet.
The rest of the packages on the pallet were unloaded at the airport leaving only one, which contained 20 boxes of dinnerware, explained Ms Burgess.
It came from Walmart in Orlando and was addressed to Nicholas Minors at a Dolly’s Bay Lane address in St David’s.
Yesterday, Customs Officer Rejean Raynor told the jury he was called in to help examine the consignment. He explained that suspicions were aroused because the wooden pallet smelled strongly of fresh paint, which was unusual.
Mr Raynor said he and colleagues began to break the pallet apart with a hammer and chisel and found the drugs concealed in nine plastic pipes. The pipes were located within the blocks that separated the planks of the pallet.
Mr Raynor said there was carbon paper and grey tape on the pipes, and the cannabis was tightly packed inside them. The drugs were sent to the Government laboratory and the pallet was put back together.
According to Ms Burgess, the consignment of dinnerware was put back in circulation and the following day, Mr Walker arrived at the airport to pick it up. He allegedly asked the freight manager for the pallet as well as the dinnerware. The freight manager told him he could not have it because they were short of pallets but Mr Walker took it anyway, according to Ms Burgess.
He was later stopped and arrested but the pallet was no longer in his truck. According to Ms Burgess, there is no such person as Nicholas Minors.
Another Crown witness, San Bezant, who works for Air Cargo Expediters, testified yesterday. He told the jury the consignment in question was shipped by that company, which is a New York based air and ocean freight shipper.
When Mr Bezant checked prior records, he found that two other shipments had been sent to Nicholas Minors, in December 2009 and February 2010. The first came from Walmart in Huntsville, Alabama, and the other from Walmart in Orlando.
Defence lawyer Craig Attridge said he had no questions for Mr Bezant as no-one was suggesting the defendant had anything to do with the two earlier shipments.
Mr Walker denies conspiring with others not before the court to import cannabis, and the case continues.
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