Arizona vacation turns into extended jail stay for Jamaican man

Posted at 9:35 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 01:36:04-04

He thought he was visiting Arizona for a short vacation. 

Nearly a year later, Jamaican national Damion Williams is speaking from jail after he says he was swept up in somebody else’s mess.

Williams says he had just flown into Sky Harbor to visit a friend in May 2016.

He was asleep at his friend’s south Phoenix home near Baseline and 51st Avenue when a SWAT team came for a raid.

"I am surprised, when I saw the police outside, I was so scared. I was wondering what is this all about,” said Williams.

Detectives were led to the home after they followed Curtis Lauderdale Jr. and Nickie Campbell from a nearby shipping store.

According to reports, the pair were seen driving to a United States Post Office location to ship a brown box.

Detectives believed their behavior was similar to known drug trafficking organizations, using the USPS to ship drugs to different parts of the country.

Investigators say Lauderdale Jr. and Campbell were working together as part of a drug syndicate.

They stopped the pair trying to allegedly ship 10 pounds of marijuana.

A search warrant and raid at the South Phoenix home uncovered 60 pounds of marijuana in a closet.

Williams was at home during the raid and arrested in the process.

"Trust me I feel like I've been kidnapped. I'm counting each day as it goes by. I've been here for 355 days,” said Williams from jail.

As the days tick by, his lawyer is fighting for his freedom while raising a big question.

"What are you expected to do when you go to somebody's house, and I think that this case will help illuminate that," said Attorney Anthony Ramirez from My AZ Lawyers.

Ramirez says if police can prove you have knowledge and control over something illegal in someone’s home, you can get locked up. 

"His presence is all that there is. Mr. Williams did not have dominion and control over the house, or anything elicit," added Ramirez.

For now, the Jamaican national is away from his family and waiting for his day in court.