A Dominican boat captain, who was on August 30, 2021 caught with 24 kilos of cocaine below the deck of the sailboat he skippered, has been convicted.
Magistrate Samuel McKinney this week convicted Juan Cabrera, of Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, of importation of drugs and drug possession with intent to supply, while acquitting his Colombian mate Luis Colmanares of the offenses. The magistrate acquitted Cabrera and Colmanares of conspiracy to commit both offenses.
McKinney sentenced Cabrera to 18 months’ imprisonment in addition to a $20,000 fine. He will spend an extra six months behind bars if the money isn’t paid. The magistrate also ordered the sailboat forfeited to the Crown.
The magistrate gave Cabrera credit for the nine months that he has spent on remand, meaning that he will only serve nine more months should he pay the fine. For his part, Colmanares was released from custody and turned over to immigration for processing.
Acting on information that the vessel was transporting drugs, officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit boarded the vessel on August 29, 2021 after it refueled in Long Island. However, the officers did not find the $432,000 cocaine shipment during an initial search.
Consequently, they towed the vessel to George Town, Exuma, for a more thorough search, which took place the following day. The officers found two black bags containing the cocaine while searching the battery housing in the engine room.
The fuel jugs that Cabrera had used to refuel the boat were nearby.
During his testimony, Cabrera denied checking the sailboat’s battery during his voyage from Colombia. He said he had been hired to take the boat to Bermuda.
Inspector Timothy Bain prosecuted the case and Ernie Wallace represented both men.