A New York-based Guyanese man is suing Caribbean Airlines for negligence after he was arrested at the JFK Airport in October 2018 and detained for a week after authorities found cocaine in his luggage that was later established to have been planted in his belongings.
According to New York Post, 50-year-old Simeon Wilson was returning to the United States from his father’s birthday celebration when he was asked to step aside by custom agents after a necktie containing the contraband was found attached to his luggage.
Wilson, who was arrested when he touched down in the United States, denied ownership of the necktie and claimed it wasn’t attached to his luggage when he checked in with the airline company at the Cheddi Jagan Airport in the Caribbean country prior to his departure. Customs agents found 2,000 grams of the illegal drug in two bags upon his arrest.
Charges against Wilson were, however, later dropped after authorities established his luggage had been compromised “while in the sole custody of Caribbean Airlines,” legal filing submitted by the plaintiff and his attorneys, claimed. It added that Wilson had “never touched, handled, sold or even seen drugs in his life,” and he wasn’t behind putting the contraband in his belongings, New York Post reports.
“You go out for a vacation you don’t expect anybody to go and tamper with your bag,” Wilson told the news outlet.
Wilson claims he lost his job, and his reputation within the Guyanese community in Queens became tarnished despite being vindicated. The family man also said he’s frequently questioned by customs agents when he’s at airports as his identity has been flagged, and as such, has to carry documents to prove he has been cleared of the alleged crime.
“I travel with my two hands. I don’t bring no suitcase at all. Nobody can screw with me anymore,” Wilson said.
His attorney added: “What Mr. Wilson went through was a terrible ordeal and he should be compensated for the airline’s negligence.”
Wilson, who is seeking unspecified damages, likened his ordeal to that of Roger Levans, a Black passenger who sued Delta Airlines in 2012 after a baggage handler planted cocaine in his luggage. A Brooklyn jury awarded him $759,000 in damages.
“It is particularly outrageous since his has happened to other passengers before,” Wilson’s lawyer said.
The Caribbean Airlines is yet to comment about the lawsuit.