“I want to refute the claim that was made by the attorney (Anselm Clouden) for the accused Nigel Murray that some of the drugs were missing”.
Those were the words uttered by Superintendent Rodrigues James, officer in charge of the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in response to a front-page article published by THE NEW TODAY newspaper week ending Thursday, April 02nd 2015, headlined ‘The missing 73 pounds of ganja in police custody”.
The “missing” 73 lbs of ganja was raised by the defense lawyer as part of his efforts to get charges of llegal possession of marijuana laid against Murray dismissed in his high court trial.
According to Supt. James, at the time of the seizure of the drugs found in the custody of the accused man, the total weight was around 208 pounds or thereabout, however, the conditions under which the drugs were stored must also be taken into consideration.
Attorney Clouden was seeking to get the High Court judge, Madam Justice Margaret Price-Findlay to throw out a ganja charge against Murray and co-accused Murrel John on the grounds that the police could not properly account for a large amount of the drugs.
Supt. James dismissed the notion that the police were engaged in something sinister and asserted that all the packages seized in the operation were properly accounted for.
“We have to remember that the drugs were carried to the island in an open boat and it was exposed to the battering from the sea water”, he said.
He added that because the “drugs were soaked from the seawater, over time the weight would be different and the greenness would have faded away,” and that “at the time of the initial weighing of the drugs it would have been impossible to separate the water content from the total weight of the cannabis.”
The senior police officer said the lawmen did not anticipate that “the (court) matter, which dated back as far as 2009 would have dragged on for such a long period of time and over the years the drugs will lose more of its original weight.
He charged that most of the adjournments in the court case was “at the request of the defense”.
“So there was no fault of the prosecution in terms of the prolonging of that case or the deterioration of the condition of the marijuana,” he said, adding that the conditions under which the drugs were kept at the Special Services Unit (SSU) compound, Point Salines “is a very hot place.
He explained that the rooms where the drugs are held have to be “properly secured” at all times and so “it would be very hot and things would dry up and deteriorate faster.”
Last month, the High Court found Murray, a 42-year-old businessman guilty of being in possession of a controlled drug, while the charge was dismissed against John.
Murray is now on remand at the Richmond Hill prison awaiting his sentencing set for May 20th.