Declaring that she had no criminal intent, American entrepreneur and social media star Jayda Cheaves says bringing her gun along on a private jet to Jamaica was an ‘honest mistake and that she has learned her lesson’.
Cheaves and an associate Gregory Wright were charged on Monday after two 9mm pistols and 15 rounds of ammunition were found in their possession as they were trying to depart the Sangster International Airport. On Wednesday, they pled guilty to the charges in the Western Regional Gun Court in Montego Bay, St James, and were fined a total of $1.6 million Jamaican dollars (approximately $10,600 USD).
Cheaves was in Jamaica at the time, celebrating her 24th birthday. While the two firearms were legally obtained in the United States, they were classified as illegal in Jamaica since Cheaves and Wright had no permit to take them onto the island.
“Thank you all for your concerns,” she wrote on her Instagram Story yesterday. “We are good and out of court! It was an honest mistake and believe me when I say I learned my lesson.”
The YouTuber was represented by Martyn Thomas, who told the Jamaica STAR that “she [Cheaves] was advised they could have travelled to Jamaica with the firearm.”
“You can’t rely on someone else’s advice, whether it be travel agents or another person. As an individual, with a legal firearm, you have to do your own checks and that’s where she was at fault,” Thomas added.
However, commentators like Dancehall selector and producer Foota Hype were left fuming yesterday after Cheaves and her companion promptly paid their fine and departed the island.
NOW: American social media sensation Jayda Cheaves and her entourage depart the St James Parish Court. Cheaves and Gregory Wright, a member of her travelling party, were charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. They have paid a fine and will be leaving today. pic.twitter.com/fppImbX5Wm
— Jamaica Gleaner (@JamaicaGleaner) September 29, 2021
“Julez Santana have him gun and go inna airport and figot seh him have the gun and him run out ah the airport and cut. Still two year him get ah prison,” Foota said during his SUHVYVA GODCAST yesterday on YouTube, in reference to the rapper who took a gun into a New York-area airport in 2018.
“So mi nuh understand what kinda powers them have, fi cross international waters and enter a foreign country and get arrested and within a day and half, you gone home..mmm mm.”
“This look ah way, and mi ah seh, if them can be non-Jamaican and come violate the country suh, why Tommy Lee or Laden wasn’t given the opportunity to pay a fine and go home?” he continued.
In March 2021, Dancehall star Tommy Lee Sparta was sentenced to three years after he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a gun and ammunition, while Dancehall artist Laden was sentenced to four years for the same charge, after he too pleaded guilty in December 2020.
When one follower pointed out that Tommy Lee Sparta’s illegal gun was reportedly linked to two murders, Foota responded “Jamaican police don’t know if them [Cheaves and Wright] gun have body on them, them don’t even know if since them deh a Jamaica them put no body on them.”
“Ballistics nah come back inna two day, so how the case done within two day,” Foota added. “You know how much man deh a jail four, five years ah wait pon ballistics.”
Cheaves, who is also known as Jayda Wayda, is the mother of rapper Lil Baby’s son. According to her lawyer, the incident will not affect her future travel to Jamaica. Thomas also laid blame on the Jamaica Customs Agency for the blunder.
“They are allowed to travel with their firearm as long as it is in a firearm safe, but the blunder I lay at the foot of customs,” he said. “What usually happens is the firearm is checked on, the airline is to notify customs that a firearm is on board and then customs should meet the plane to take control of the firearm and then hand it over thereafter once they ensure the holder had the requisite permits. At the same time, there was a mishap which caused the firearm to be handed over to her.”
According to the STAR, neither defendant was required to surrender their fingerprints to the police.
“My client even asked when we were finished if she would be able to come back to Jamaica because she loves Jamaica and she had a great time and her Ladyship Justice Wiltshire said she’s free to come back anytime she wants,” Thomas shared.
“It’s just unfortunate that she came to celebrate her 24th birthday, had a lovely time but it was just this situation that put a damper on it.”
In her Instagram Story post yesterday, Cheaves said “I had a ball out here [Jamaican flag emoji] best birthday ever.”