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Man denies gun part importation charges

A Bermudian man who lived in the US smuggled gun parts into the island concealed in two packages containing auto tools and spare parts, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.

James Rumley, 38, originally from Sandys, was living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when the offences were alleged to have happened last year.

Mr Rumley has pleaded not guilty to three counts of importation of firearms components in June and October last year.

Prosecution witnesses yesterday testified that two gun barrels were found hidden inside a hard plastic tool box containing auto repair equipment which arrived in Bermuda on October 14.

A second package containing gun triggers among auto spare parts was intercepted three days later after customs officers spotted that the sender, invoice and content details were similar to the first package.

Both packages had been shipped to the island by FedEx from Pittsburgh.

Mr Rumley was the sender of the first package, which was addressed to Nyna Lightbourne of Middle Road in Devonshire, according to paperwork with the package.

The second package was sent by a Robert James and addressed to Mr Rumley at a house on Spring Benny Road, Sandys.

Ms Lightbourne – who has a daughter with Mr Rumley – told the court that the first parcel was delivered to her home on October 16 – the day before her daughter’s birthday.

Cindy Clarke, for the prosecution asked Ms Lightbourn if it was usual for Mr Rumley to send her parcels.

Ms Lightbourne replied that he had done so on one previous occasion.

She said: “He would just send a package but he wouldn’t ask.”

She added that when she learnt that the package had arrived she thought it contained a birthday gift for her daughter.

Ms Lightbourne said: “I put it in my closet and just rested it there.”

She was arrested just after she left home later that day.

The court also heard voicemail messages between Mr Rumley and Ms Lightbourne which revealed that the defendant planned to fly to Bermuda after the first package arrived.

A second witness, Acting Sergeant Jewel Hayward of the police crime scenes investigation unit, said he took photographs of the first package and its contents after it had been handed over to police before it was delivered to Ms Lightbourne.

The package was submitted as an exhibit and Sergeant Hayward pointed out that it contained a hard plastic case housing a coil spring compressor – a tool used to repair cars.

He also showed the jury that a hollow area had been chiselled out of a section of the interior of the plastic case to hide a gun barrel and spring. A second barrel was also found in the case.

Dean Lema, a principal Customs officer, said that, after being alerted to the seizure of the first package, he searched the Customs automated processing system, and realised that a second parcel containing similar shipping details to the first had also arrived in Bermuda.

The second parcel was also seized and examined by police and Customs officers.

Natalie Pitcher, also a Customs officer, told the court that after she had taken photographs of the parcel’s contents, a police officer alerted her that they were gun components and looked like triggers.

Victoria Greening, for the defence, questioned why police had swabbed the gun parts for DNA evidence but not entered any results into the Bermuda Criminal Database.

She told Sergeant Hayward: “If someone had been through the system then you would have found a match.”

She asked Mr Lema if shipping documentation that identified the defendant could have been filled out by someone else.

Ms Greening said: “It is possible that somebody could not make a mistake but deliberately enter information that was not accurate if they wanted to.”

Mr Lema agreed that that possible.

The trial, before Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe, continues.