Bermuda Customs, Cruise Ship Cabins & Illegal Searches = Easy U.S. Money $$$

Bermuda - Cruise Ship DrugsBernews reports that Bermuda Customs officials boarded the Norwegian Gem yesterday and search an unoccupied passenger cabin and seized 6 grams of pot. 

Magistrate Archie Warner, who we have blogged about before, fined the American cruise passenger $1,000 or 90 days prison if the fine was not paid immediately. 

6 grams is less than a 1/4 ounce of pot.  Something like 6 - 7 marijuana cigarettes. 

Bermuda loves busting Americans for small amounts of pot, even though the pot is in a locked cabin on the cruise ship and the passenger has no intention of taking it ashore.  Probable cause?  A warrant?  Apparently not necessary in Bermuda, at least not for cruise ships.  

Fining cruise passengers $1,000 to $3,000 is a major source of revenue for the island.  No U.S. passenger is going to sit in a jail for three months.  The customs officials and judges in Bermuda know it.  It's easy money.  Wait for the passengers to go ashore and then take the sniffer dogs from cabin to cabin when no one is there,

Last month I blogged about Magistrate Warner raising his eyebrows at these type of random, warrant-less searches.  He complained at a court hearing that it was only a matter of time before a victim of such an illegal search sued the customs officials and prosecutors for such conduct.  His concern for due process seems to be a temporary thought.

Bermuda - Pot - Cruise Ship The blog I wrote Busted in Bermuda - Customs Officials Extort Money From Cruise Passengers By Unconstitutional Drug Searches was not well received by some of the citizens of Bermuda who commented on our blog.

Click on our "Drugs" category to the left.  You will see that most drug seizures are in Bermuda and involve tiny amount of marijuana for personal use.  We have written lots of articles like this, including: 

Are You a Stoner? Don't Cruise to Bermuda!

If you sail to Bermuda, you are free to drink like a fish on the cruise ship or in the bars ashore.  But if you sneak a little reefer on board, be prepared to be shaken down by the officials in Bermuda.  

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Gabs - September 22, 2011 11:56 PM

Jim, I'll admit I'm not versed in Bermuda law, so I don't know if this is unconstitutional or not. If it is, then shame on the Customs agency, they should be reprimanded accordingly. But that doesn't mean I'm sorry for the people that thought it was ok to sneak drugs into another country (even if it's on board, it's still Bermuda territory). Specially considering that cruise ships have a zero tolerance policy (but we all know about their security standards ;) ). It would be similar to getting caught with pot in an airplane. Or what if instead of drugs they found a gun, or a bomb? It's not allowed on board, but they still brought it.

On the other side, if it's in accordance to their law, I don't care where the passenger is from, they have to respect that country's rules. The US has to learn that they can't tell other countries how to apply their own laws. We have plenty of US drug mules in prison here, and serves them right. It's a shame that their food comes from my tax money, but they had it coming. And this from a person that gets racially profiled every time that he passed through a US airport!

Like I said, I don't know what Bermuda's constitution says about this, so this is not an informed opinion. :)

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