Issa explains drug find on boat named after daughter, Zein
1,100 pounds of hash oil concealed in water tank
CHAIRMAN of SuperClubs, John Issa rehashed the episode in which 1,100 pounds of hash oil, a marijuana derivative, was found in the water tank of the motor yacht, My Zein, named after his daughter, Zein.
Issa was answering questions in a follow-up deposition in his ongoing lawsuit that began in January this year in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida, where he is claiming that he was defamed by e-mails traced to computers originating in that US state.
Attorney Reginald Clyne of Clyne and Associates, representing the defendants in the lawsuit, asked Issa if the boat was owned by SuperClubs and he responded saying: "No, it was actually owned by a free-standing company."
Issa continued: "I can't remember, because to register it and insure it, if you have a boat registered in Jamaica, you have trouble getting insurance because of all the problems."
Clyne: "Okay. But it was in the control and possession of the crew?"
Issa: "Of the Grand Lido."
Clyne: "Which is one of the hotels in SuperClubs?"
Clyne: "And there was 11 pounds of hashish found
Clyne: "How much?"
Issa: "My information on this story, and I have to give you some background. The yacht. because I was afraid of any of the crew trying to use the facility of it going to dry dock to take a few pounds of ganja and hide it behind some pipe or something, before it went to dry dock, we asked the police to walk through with dogs, and we informed the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Agency) and asked them to come and check.
"In this particular case, there had been bad weather and it had to go into shelter the night before, after it had been checked at some bay, and then it was back to the hotel to leave for dry dock. It would have been coming to America and going up to Canada in the intercoastal whatever.
"It was also the instructions to the captain, which we always did, before you enter US territorial waters, you call the Coast Guard, tell them to come on board and tell them to check the yacht before it enters territorial waters.
"That afternoon or evening before, the hotel - either through the captain or the manager, I'm not sure - got an anonymous phone call which said 'Check your water tanks, there's something in there', and they found what was later identified in a number of containers, 1,100 pounds of hash oil."
Clyne: "It was hash oil."
Issa: "We reported it the next morning to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Jamaica because it was on its way to Canada, and - I said this in the first deposition - both they and the DEA advised us 'Why the hell did you call the Canadian police to come and search; we would have asked you not to do it and let us follow it'. And I felt. I said to myself, not to them, thank God we had done that, because if we had been part of this thing going up there, half the people would have believed we may have been involved, half the people may have believed we were working in co-operation with the law enforcement of Canada and the US."
Clyne: "So some of the people believed you were involved with the drugs that were found."
Joe DeMaria (Issa's lawyer): Objection. He said if he would have allowed it. You are not listening to his answers."
Issa: "I don't know. I mean the news reports were very clear and then we let go all the crew. The police tried to find someone to charge, and then, shortly thereafter, I can't remember exactly when, we tried to sell it, and we finally sold it on e-Bay because I wasn't taking that risk again."
Persisting in his line of questioning, Clyne continued: "What I'm trying to find out is, even just finding the drugs in your boat, did people in Jamaica believe that you were involved in the drug trade?"
Issa: "Not anyone that spoke with me. I doubt it because. I tell you, and it may sound arrogant, but my reputation is of being one of the businessmen in Jamaica with integrity. There are not many. Now, your people have checked us out thoroughly, and if you are trying to imply that people think I'm a drug dealer, you are totally off on the wrong track."
To be continued
Sunday, November 29, 2009