Luck runs out on druggist Damian Edwards
Damian 'Lucky' Edwards, a Jamaican who is undertaking four major real estate developments in western Jamaica, has admitted to being the leader of a major drug ring in the United States of America.
Edwards, who is from St James, has agreed, in US court documents, to enter a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of ganja.
He was held in connection with the seizure of more than US$1.3 million (J$157.3 million) in cash and 3,600 pounds of marijuana in the United States in February.
The prospective guilty plea means that Edwards faces a mandatory-minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years to life imprisonment. He also faces a fine of US$10 million (J$1.29billion).
Hopie Dawn Edwards, Lucky's wife, has also agreed to enter a guilty plea to the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. She faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of up to US$7 million (J$902.3 million).
Jamaica's Supreme Court has, in the meantime, placed a freeze on four high-end properties, valued at nearly $400 million, that were traced by local investigators to a Jamaican couple who have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges in the United States.
The multimillion-dollar real estate, according to the Financial Investigations Division (FID), are in the names of Edwards, his wife, and a company they established as a 'front' to hold the properties.
Among the properties the FID said were traced to the couple is a 16-unit apartment complex, valued at $180 million, that occupies approximately 20,000 square foot of land in Montego Bay, St James.
The other properties traced to the couple by local investigators are a 10-unit apartment complex, valued at US$800,000 or approximately J$103 million; another apartment complex valued at US$500,000 or approximately J$65 million; both in St James, and a parcel of land being developed in Trelawny.
'Lucky' Edwards, 38, was held along with his wife Hopie Dawn, 34, Theo Lavelle Smith, 33, all of Columbus, Ohio, and German Alfredo White, 53, of Jacksonville, Florida. They were arrested on charges related to running a marijuana trafficking ring. All are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
It is alleged that in November last year, detectives probed a multi-kilogram marijuana drug ring. It is said that large shipments were being brought into Columbus on a monthly basis by the Jamaican native.