Judge to announce verdict in businessman’s $130m drug case in July

ST JAMES, Jamaica – The verdict in the trial of Western Jamaica businessman, who reportedly had cocaine worth US$850,000 (J$130,008,520) aboard a bus he was operating in March of 2022, will be announced on July 5 at the St James Parish Court.

Rohan Cummings is charged with possession of, dealing in, trafficking, and conspiracy to traffic 17 kilograms of cocaine.

The accused man provided an unsworn statement from the prisoner’s dock before trial judge Kaysha Grant-Pryce on Monday. He stated that on March 7 last year, he had purchased paint and other hardware supplies from a store in Newmarket, St Elizabeth before being intercepted by the police on the Long Hill main road in St James.

He maintained that he did not know about the cocaine that was allegedly discovered in the Toyota Hiace bus.

“I got stopped at Long Hill, and the police searched up the van. I saw the officer take off some panels from off the inside and he said ‘What is this?’ and I told him, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ When I went to the hardware, I never put anything in the van, they packed it themselves,” said Cummings.

Cummings' attorney, Henry McCurdy, communicated to the court that no witnesses would be called for the defence.

Judge Grant Pryce then scheduled the verdict hearing for July 5, stating to Cummings that she required additional time to evaluate his unsworn statement and the previous testimony given by the prosecution's police witness on April 28.

“I have to read over all of the evidence and applied the law according to the facts, and that will need to take some time. On July 5, we are anticipating the verdict, whether I find you guilty or not guilty,” Grant Pryce said before extending Cummings’ bail.

According to court documents, Cummings was stopped by the police at Long Hill on March 7, 2022, at 2:45 pm. Upon inspecting the bus he was operating, authorities discovered cocaine stashed in both the left-hand and right-hand panels of the vehicle.

The cocaine was reportedly found wrapped in 16 packages, which had been previously presented in court as evidence to support the prosecution's argument.

Under caution, Cummings claimed that he had borrowed the bus to visit his granddaughter.

READ: Businessman’s drug trial stalls

He was taken into custody and interviewed following which he was arrested and charged with breaching the Dangerous Drugs Act.

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