One of the island’s most popular soca artiste, Marcus “Lavaman” James has found himself in trouble with the law on firearm related charges following a police operation at his home in St. George’s last weekend.
THE NEW TODAY understands that James, 34, was arrested at his H.A. Blaize Street residence last Sunday morning after a police operation discovered arms and ammunition on the premises.
The haul reportedly included a semi-automatic sub-machine gun and two magazines and 170 rounds of ammunition, along with over 200 rounds of ammunition for other guns that have not been found, namely, 118 rounds of point 45 ammunition, 83 rounds of point 40 ammunition and 19 rounds of point 9mm ammunition).
A police source told this newspaper that the bullets were allegedly discovered in a closet in the upstairs section of the house while the gun and some other ammunition were found in a downstairs apartment of the same building.
James, who is not the holder of a firearm license, is facing two indictable charges – possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
He appeared before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill Tuesday at the St. George’s No.1 Magistrate’s Court, represented by Attorney-at-Law Peter David, where he was eventually granted bail in the sum of EC$75, 000 with two sureties.
Bail was granted after a heated exchange between Attorney David and the Police Prosecution team led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Godfrey Victor.
The Police objected to bail on the grounds that Lavaman would interfere with the potential witnesses in the case, while David argued that his client is not likely to interfere, as all witnesses for the police are members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
The back and forth argument saw both sides approaching the bench, which was followed by a lengthy meeting in the office of the Chief Magistrate.
Upon their return, Chief Magistrate Gill took the decision to grant bail on specific conditions that Lavaman report to Central Police Station on the Carenage between 6.00 a.m and 6.00 p.m every day except Saturday and Sunday.
The soca artiste was also ordered to surrender all travel documents to the court and seek permission from the court to leave the jurisdiction.
Tuesday’s court hearing also revealed that the other occupants of the house, James’ female companion, Latoya Thomas and his father, Lennox “Lay Lay” James were also taken into custody for questioning.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the girlfriend of the accused was detained upon visiting him on Monday night at the St. Paul’s Police Station, while police picked up the father, who is the owner of the property early Tuesday morning.
This newspaper has been reliably informed that the two were charged Tuesday night in connection with the discovery of the arms and ammunition following the weekend police operation.
James’ father and his girlfriend have since managed to secure bail in the sum of $35, 000.00 each with two sureties.
Lavaman along with his father and girlfriend are due in court on February 2, 2016, for the commencement of the Preliminary Inquiry into the case brought against them.
In August 2006, James was one of six persons arrested and charged by police for being in possession of an illegal firearm and a quantity of marijuana.
Efforts by THE NEW TODAY to get information from the police on the status of that charge proved futile.
However, a legal source said the charge against Lavaman was dropped because one of the occupants in the vehicle claimed possession of the illegal items.
The artiste is considered to be among the best in the local soca arena and won the Road March title in 2011 with “So we dey” and the 2012 National soca monarch crown with the hit song, “Psycho”.