Arrest Made in Roatan for Robberies of Cruise Passengers & Tourists

A number of people have sent me links to news sources in Roatan indicating that the local police arrested a 20 year old islander, identified as Cory Lee Beckner, as a suspect in the robbery of several cruise passengers and tourists.

Teledifusora Insular indicates that the young man is the son of the owner of Palm Beach in Roatan. He allegedly is the "ringleader of a gang" which preyed on tourists to Roatan.

He reportedly was born in the U.S. although he was raised as an "islander" in Roatan. This comes to the surprise of many who blamed the Hondurans from the mainland for causing all of the trouble on their island.

The Trip Advisor site contains a comment by a cruise passenger (from Royal Caribbean) to Roatan which said this about Palm Cory Lee Beckner Roatan Honduras CrimeBeach after a cruise to Roatan last month:

"We booked an excursion from cruiseexcursions.com to go zip lining in South Side, and Eco-tour there and a beach trip to West Bay Tabyana. The local company who facilitated the tours was Christopher tours. For some non-understandable reason, we were taken instead to Palm Beach. There was only one other family there and we got eated up with sand flea bites within minutes of getting there. On the way out from the beach to the main road, we were shot at by robbers. They shot the tire out on our cab, held a gun to my 15 year old sons head and a knife to my 16 year old sons throat and robbed us of money, cameras, phones, shoes and clothes. Apparently this is common on Roatan."

Was 20 year-old Mr. Beckner really involved in this crime or any of the other crimes alleged by tourists who visited Roatan this year? 

Anyone with information regarding the suspect or crime in Roatan, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Honduran Crew Members Busted for Smuggling 100 Pounds of Cocaine on Royal Caribbean Owned Cruise Ship

Pullmantur EmpressA newspaper in Brazil reports that the police arrested crew members on a cruise ship who were smuggling 100 pounds of cocaine.

The Globo newspaper identified the cruise ship as the M/S Empress, owned by Royal Caribbean and operated by the Royal Caribbean brand Pullmantur.  

The police officers arrested Honduran crew members after finding 333 bags of cocaine weighing 100 pounds. The drugs were found in the crew members' cabin in several bags hidden in coffee pouches. 

The drugs were intended to be delivered to Europe. 

Royal Caribbean said that it has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding illegal drugs on its ships.

The cruise ship was previously operated by Royal Caribbean International as the Nordic Empress and Empress of the Seas.

Photo Credit: Top - Reuters / Bottom - Wikipedia (Borodun)

Pullmantur Empress Cruise Ship

Cocaine & Heroin Cruise Ship Bust: Bahamas Celebration Crew Member Arrested For Smuggling Drugs

Newspapers in Palm Beach Country are reporting that a 30-year-old crew member is facing drug charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities say he smuggled cocaine and heroin from the Bahamas on the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship.

The Bahamas Celebration is operated by the Celebration Cruise Line and cruises between the Port of Palm Beach and Freeport, Bahamas.

A crew member, identified as Adrian Bradley Trench, was arrested last Thursday on charges of Bahamas Celebration Cruise Shipimporting more than 500 grams of cocaine and more than 100 grams of heroin. Crew member Trench had left the cruise ship after it arrived at the Port of Palm Beach from Freeport. When federal immigration officers asked Trench for his immigration forms, the crew member reportedly tried to run back to the cruise ship.

The officers apprehended him and noticed two packages wrapped around Trench’s calves, containing 1,043 grams of cocaine (about 2.25 pounds) and 674 grams of heroin (about 1.5 pounds). 

Drug smuggling from the Bahamas is not uncommon. Last Spring, we reported on two incidents where a crew member and a passenger were arrested for smuggling large quantities of cocaine from the Bahamas into the same port. Read Another Drug Bust on the Bahamas Celebration.

 

Photo Credit: thebahamasweekly.com

Transatlantic Coke Bust: Spanish Prosecutors Seek 7 Year Prison Sentences For Two MSC Magnifica Crew Members

In a story we reported earlier this year, two Filipino crew members were busted smuggling cocaine aboard the MSC Magnifica in April.

The MSC cruise ship arrived at the port  of La Coruña on April 11th and the two crew members were arrested after they were caught with 10 kilos of cocaine taped to their bodies.

Today I received a newspaper clipping from a reader of Cruise Law News Next, bring me up to date regarding the case. The two men will be tried in the Provincial Court next week as "perpetrators MSC Cruise Ship Drug Bustof a crime against public health." The prosecutors will be asking the Court for 7 year jail sentences for the two men. You can see the on line article here too.

It was initially reported that the MSC crew members had smuggled 15 kilos.

Drug smuggling on cruise ships occurs more than the cruise lines want you to know, including MSC. 

Last month, a judge in Italy sentenced three 3 people who were involved in smuggling cocaine on an Italian flagged cruise ship to ten year individual sentences and a fine each of 60,000 Euros for importing ten kilos of cocaine from South America on the cruise ship Armonia operated by MSC.

In March, two Argentinian cruise passengers on an unidentified MSC cruise ship from Brazil which arrived in Lisbon, Portugal from Brazil were arrested for possession / smuggling of seven kilograms of cocaine wrapped in packages that the men were carrying in two backpacks. 

MSC passengers were convicted of attempting to bring 35 kilos of cocaine from the MSC Orchestra when it arrived in Dover from Brazil.

The MSC Poesia was the scene here in South Florida of a drug bust when U.S. federal and local agents with K-9 dogs raided the cruise ship looking to arrest passengers who were attending a musical Jam Cruise. The raid resulted in the arrest of passengers and the seizure of pot, mushrooms, hash oil, LSD, Ecstasy, and prescription drugs as well as unspecified drug paraphernalia. No high times on the high seas for these cruisers.

U.S. Customs & Border Agents Terrorize Cruise Passenger

Norwegian Jewel Cruise ShipWGNO in New Orleans reports a NCL cruise passenger was enjoying the end of her birthday cruise when four armed U.S. Customs and Border agents with a canine "barged into her cabin, handcuffed and detained her for no reason." They then led her in handcuffs through the crowded cruise ship. Passenger Kristen Schroeder told WGNO: 

“It was horrible. It was the most mortifying experience of my whole life.”

The incident occurred on NCL's Norwegian Jewel when the cruise ship returned to port in New Orleans. 

Ms. Schroeder had a warrant for a misdemeanor.  But she had resolved and paid the fine, even though the federal agency had no record of it.  You can watch a video of the story here.

We have reported before on the federal government running cruise ship manifests through computer databases looking for people to arrest after the cruises are over. Read our article: Are You Cruising with a Wanted Felon? Five Passengers Arrested on Carnival Magic in Galveston.  

It's a sloppy process. Sometimes innocent people get arrested or unnecessarily harassed, like this poor woman: Passenger Wrongfully Arrested On A Carnival Cruise Ship.   

Busted in Belize: Shaking Down the Cruise Ship Tourists

Belize - Cruise Ship - Pot - MarijuanaDr. Ross Klein's Cruise Junkie and Local News Station 5 in Belize are reporting on the arrest of two cruise passengers who went ashore in Belize last week. Both young men were caught with small amounts of pot in Belize's "tourism village" and were arrested. 

As I have mentioned before in a prior article, Reefer Madness: Cruise Passengers Busted in Belize During Cruises, don't think that the police in Belize will look the other way if you are a cruise passenger and want to buy pot ashore in Belize.

Even though the drug dealers will try and sell you pot and whatever else you want as soon as you step off of the cruise ship, Belize has a reputation of arresting, fining and/or jailing tourists for possession of small amounts of  the evil weed.  

You can get arrested for pot, even though you just bought the weed ashore. It's less than clear whether this is part of an undercover drug sting or just corrupt cops working with the dealers.   

The arrests last week involve two cruise ship passengers who arrived in Belize. One passenger was from Dayton, Tennessee and the other was from Saint Martin. 

The arrests occurred less than an hour before the last tender was to sail back to the passengers' cruise ship. One passenger with 4.7 grams of marijuana was fined $400. The other passenger had 8 ounces was fined $800. Both men paid their fine and rushed off to their waiting tender to make it back to the ship.

That's speedy "justice" in Belize. $1,200 in fines collected in about 45 minutes.

There are lots of articles online about cruise passengers arrested in Belize for "acting suspiciously at the tourism village."  That could mean whatever the arresting police officer wants it to mean. 

Cruise passengers are easy marks. No one is going to argue due process or other legal mumbo-jumbo while there is no bail for cruise passengers in Belize. It's easier to pay the fine, get back on the ship, and drink a margarita than to go to jail.    

Another Drug Bust on the Bahamas Celebration

Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship Drug BustThe Sun Sentinel newspaper reports that U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agents arrested a crew member of the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship after he tried to smuggle two bricks of cocaine (a kilo) into the Riviera Beach Port. 

Crew member Dannys Daniel Sjogreen-Gutierrez was taken into custody by CBP agents earlier this week after he disembarked from the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship with the drugs.

The arrested crew member later delivered a fake brick of cocaine to the recipient in the alleged drug deal, Everett Marvin Patton, who was also arrested in the bust operation. 

A month ago a cruise ship passenger was arrested for smuggling cocaine into the same port. 

Drug running from the Bahamas to South Florida via cruise ships is a common occurrence. 

Bahamas Celebration Cruise Passenger Busted for Cocaine

Bahamas Celebration Cocaine Bust Cruise PassengerA newspaper in Palm Beach is reporting that a cruise ship passenger was arrested at the Port of Palm Beach after Customs and Border officials found cocaine in her luggage.

The news paper identified Mechelle Tondeleah Clarke as the passenger who sailed on the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship from the Bahamas to the port located in Riviera Beach. After arriving April 20th, Ms. Clarke handed over her suitcase to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for inspection.The officials found a package of cocaine inside a  “secret compartment” in the luggage. The package of cocaine weighed approximately 2.25 kilograms.

Clarke allegedly told authorities that she was given the package by someone in the Bahamas in exchange for between $2,000 and $3,000 for transporting the package to an address in West Palm Beach.

Smuggling cocaine on cruise ships is not uncommon.  To read other stories like this, click on "Drugs" under the "Topics" section to the lower left.

 

Photo Credit: thebahamasweekly.com

WESH-2: Worst News Station in the World Broadcasts Arrest of Mother of Two Children, Returning From Disney Cruise, Over $85

Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerWhen I started this blog, I included a section where I award cruise lines and cruise executives the title "worst cruise line in the world" for the company or person in the cruise industry engaged in the most outlandish conduct.

Some months it has been hard to award just one cruise line or person because there have been so many outlandish things happening lately in the cruise industry.  When the Costa Concordia disaster struck, I discontinued the practice because there were not enough award trophies to pass out. 

But today I decided to return to the "worst in the world" award after reading a news account involving a woman arrested after cruising with her family because of $85 in court costs which she didn't pay twenty-two years ago.  

The story involves a forty-one year old woman from Connecticut who sailed on the Disney Dream cruise Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship Passengership with her husband and two kids. When the cruise ship returned to Port Canaveral today, the Brevard County Sheriff's office was waiting to handcuff her and haul her off to jail.  

It turns out that the woman, whose name I will not mention because she has been humiliated enough, owed the state of Florida $85 in court costs for an misdemeanor arrest for the theft of a pack of cigarettes in 1991 when she was 18 years old.  

Over the last two decades, she became married, paid for college, received a degree in architecture, had two kids, and is gainfully employed designing jet engines for a major aircraft manufacturer.

A cruise for 4 aboard a Disney cruise ship is a pricey ticket. And I bet she is a good mom who planned to take her kids to Disney World as well.  Certainly the economy of Florida benefits from her paying for the cruise out of a local port, flying into a local airport, renting a car or taking a taxi, paying tolls, buying food and staying in hotels.     

But instead we'll let the taxpayers pay for her to sit in jail in the Brevard County jailhouse which will not let her post bail because the court costs were levied in Orange County and she has to be transferred from Brevard County before she can be bonded out. It looks like she may spend as long as 4 or 5 days in jail before she is transferred to Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerOrlando and released. 

Arresting a mother of two for non-payment of $85 in court costs is ludicrous. Why not arrest grandmothers for library books returned late? Yes, personal accountability is important but an arrest for $85 in court costs after 22 years given the significant amount of violent crimes on cruise ships today?

Ridiculous!  

I thought about giving the "worst in the world" award to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office because it does such a poor job arresting child predators and rapists on cruise ships. The port police and sheriff's department in Brevard seem to look the other way when foreign crew members steal jewelry and iPhones and computers from passengers on the high seas.

But I thought that the award should go to the news station, WESH-2 in Orlando, which ran the preposterous story. In addition to its article on line which you can read here, the news station aired a sensational piece showing the woman's mug shot, video of the woman in hand-cuffs, images of her being placed in the jail cell, photos of barb wire and high fences of the jail house, and the woman sobbing in contrition.

Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerIn a cruise industry with an alarmingly bad record for drunken shipboard violence and un-prosecuted sex crimes against women and children, we have the action team at WESH-2 grilling a mother over $85 dating back to when she was a teenager.    

The news station included video of the news reporter, Dan Billow (resembling Will Ferrell in his role as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman), chastising the poor woman in jail with these comments:

So, you know, isn't that just tough luck? This is your, er', problem. Uhm, I mean, you're the one who did this . . .     

Billow ends the nasty little segment with a friendly reminder to his viewing audience:

So it's worth remembering, before taking a cruise, pay any unpaid traffic tickets or any other outstanding legal matters, or a dream vacation might wind up like ****'s.

Thanks Dan, asshole! 

WESH-2 OrlandoCruise Ship Arrest 

Leave a comment below or discuss the case on our Facebook page.  

News story & images: WESH-2 Orlando

Lawsuit: Carnival Cruise Lines Strip Searches Girl Looking For Pot

"Please remove your tampon, I have a job to do."

I have heard some weird and outrageous cruise ship stories over the years, but if this one is true it takes the cake.  

A lawsuit filed last month alleges that Carnival cruise employees suspected that a 17 year old girl on the Carnival Sensation possessed marijuana after she returned to the cruise ship after going ashore in Nassau. The lawsuit alleges that the girl had returned with her mother and a friend when a Carnival security officer found a bag of pot on the floor of the elevator that the group was riding on.  

Cruise Ship Drugs - Pot - Carnival SensationAccompanied by a female crew member and a male assistant housekeeping manager, the security officer entered the cabin of the girl and her friend, also a minor.  The security officer allegedly made no effort to locate the child's mother or advise the children of their rights, and then threatened and intimidated the girl into a confession that the weed in the bag was hers. 

The three crew members then searched the girls' cabin, and found no contraband or illegal substances.  Undaunted, the three crew members alleged "threatened, coerced, and required J.G. to remove her panties, lift her dress to her waist and expose her nakedness to all agents in the cabin."  Then things got especially weird.  The lawsuit alleges:

  • 41. J.G. was forcefully escorted to the restroom wherein all Defendant Agents were permitted to watch her urinate before returning her to the main area of the cabin.
  • 42. Without cause, the DEFENDANT AGENTS threatened, coerced and required J.G. to remove a tampon and her genital cavity was inspected visually by the female currently known only as LETICIA.
  • 43. This strip and cavity search took place in the plain view of male Security Officer TRAPA and male assistant housekeeping manager YUZON . . .

No additional pot was found, but the girl and her mother were reportedly escorted off of the ship where the Bahamian police placed the girl in a cell with adults where the child was allegedly assaulted. The lawsuit alleges that after the girl was released, she and her mom had to locate their own accommodations and travel arrangements home.   

Courthouse News Services uploaded a copy of the lawsuit papers here.

The girl's lawyer sued on grounds of negligence, fraud, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

This type of lawsuit comes at the wrong time for Carnival which is still suffering from the fall-out of the Costa Concordia disaster and the Costa Allegra cruise ship fire.

There are two sides of every story, and I can't wait to hear Carnival's side.  I hope it's not "we can't comment on matters in litigation but rest assured the safety and security of our guests are our highest priorities."

I asked Carnival for a comment and will publish it as soon as I receive it.

 

April 4, 2012 Update:  Here's Carnival's response in its entirety:

Carnival does not typically comment on pending litigation, but feels compelled to do so given the far-fetched claims made in this lawsuit. The claim that the plaintiff was strip searched is patently false, and obviously made in retaliation for the cruise line having disembarked the plaintiff and her mother part-way through the voyage in Nassau where the plaintiff was taken into custody by the Bahamian police.

 

Hat tip to Miami New Times which has also blogged about this story.

A Shot Across The Bow - Lawyers for German Tourist, Killed in Costa Concordia Disaster, Seize the Carnival Triumph

There is a lot of controversy today about the seizure of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship in Galveston. Lawyers in Mississippi and Texas who are representing the family of a German woman killed on the Costa Concordia filed a lawsuit against Carnival in Galveston.  In addition to the lawsuit, they filed a motion to obtain an order of attachment of a Carnival cruise ship (the Triumph) which is ported in Galveston.  

I have received lots of inquiries about the issue this afternoon.  Can someone just fill out some paperwork and seize a cruise ship like this?  Why is the Carnival Triumph being seized in Texas for something the Costa Concordia, operated by a separate cruise line, did in Italy?  Is this legal?

All good questions.

Carnival Triumph Arrest - GalvestonMaritime attachments or writs of garnishment are not uncommon. The legal mechanism of seizing a vessel is an effective tool when the vessel owner is in default of its legal obligations, like falling behind on the payment of a ship mortgage, or refusing to pay crew member wages, or refusing to pay for provisions or services rendered on behalf of a ship.

Vessel seizures (often called "attachments" or "arrests") are necessary when the defendant is a foreign corporation, which is not subject to the jurisdiction of the local courts, and its vessel is about to leave the jurisdiction and not return.  It's a good way to obtain jurisdiction and make the company post a bond. If the seizure is proper, then the company has to post a bond to cover its outstanding financial obligations and court / U.S. Marshall costs in order for its vessel to leave port.   

I remember the first time I seized a ship.  It was in 1983 and I was fresh out of law school.  A Greek crew member was owed wages which the shipowner refused to pay.  He hired me to collect around $15,000 in unpaid wages. The lawyer for the shipowner had around 30 years of experience under his belt and was not taking me or my client seriously.  The defense lawyer kept saying that the shipping company was going to pay my client.  But he kept stalling and making excuses.

One afternoon I learned that the ship was planning on departing the port of New Orleans late that night. If I later obtained a judgment on behalf of my client, I knew that it would not be worth the paper it was written on because the shipping company was based in Greece.  I had to shut the ship down.

I quickly typed up a writ of maritime attachment, completed an affidavit and ran down to the Federal courthouse to file the writ and affidavit.  My secretary meanwhile called the U.S. Marshall's office telling them that we expected to have an order seizing the Greek ship shortly, while also asking for directions for me to find the Marshall's office.

Later that evening the Marshall's office served the vessel with the attachment order.  Shortly thereafter, I received a frantic call from the defense lawyer who was now motivated to do what he had been promising to do for six weeks. We met at a shipping warehouse off of Tchoupitoulas Street.  After we resolved the payment issues, I called the Marshall's office which released the ship to sail down the Mississippi River into the night.     

So what does this have to do with the seizure of the Triumph in Galveston?  Nothing, quite frankly. Carnival owes no unpaid debt to the German family.  As sympathetic as I am to the loss of life involved, the fact remains that the death occurred on another cruise ship operated by another cruise line in another country.   

The proper location for lawsuits arising out of the Concordia is Genoa, Italy.  The proper defendant? Costa Crociere, the operator of the cruise ship.  I am no fan of cruise lines, but the facts are the facts. This is an Italian cruise ship.  It is flagged in Italy.  Costa is incorporated in Italy.  Its principal place of business is Genoa, Italy.  The cruise tickets issued to the passengers specify that all disputes must Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship - Arrest - Galvestonbe resolved in Genoa, Italy.  The accident, after all, occurred in Italian waters and is being investigated by the Italian Coast Guard.  There are criminal proceedings in Italy against the Italian captain.

It may well be that seizing the cruise ship was a ploy to try and keep the case in Galveston, whose judges are friendlier to individuals than our Federal courts in Miami, and to take Carnival's home court advantage away.  But there is no connection between the Concordia and Texas.  These passengers are from Germany, for goodness sakes. There is no good reason to seize a Carnival cruise ship for the sins of another cruise ship operated by a different company. 

Unlike the fly-by-night Greek shipping company that tried to rip off my client 29 years ago, Carnival is not going anywhere.  It has tens of billions of dollars in assets here in Miami.  The lawyers who don't want to sue in Genoa can file suit here in Miami, like others have done, and take their chances.  There are many hundreds of lawsuits filed against Carnival here every year.  It would be bedlam if a cruise ship was seized every time a lawsuit was filed.  

So what is this all about? 

The main lawyer for the German family is John Eaves Jr., who practices in Jackson, Mississippi. He told Bloomberg Businesseek that “We’ve not been able to get Carnival’s attention, so this is our shot over the bow to let them know we’re serious about changing the law and maritime standards,” Eaves said. “We want a uniform set of safety standards, and we won’t stop until we get it.”

Seizing a cruise ship to make a point is not a good idea.  Mr. Eaves seems well intended.  Yet, an attachment is not legally required nor justified in these circumstances. The public doesn't like it.  The families on the Triumph don't deserve the hassle. 

Stricter maritime safety laws are needed no doubt.  That's what Congress is for.  I know, I have attended seven Congressional hearings. The process is slow and often discouraging.  But jacking up a cruise line like this is not the way to do it.  

 

Read the lawsuit here: Kai Stumpf v. Carnival Plc, 3:12-cv-0099, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston)

Photo credit: Top: Sims Travel; bottom: Eaves Law Firm

 

April 1, 2012 Update: The Triumph sailed on time out of Galveston.  There is no indication that Carnival was required to post a bond.  Newspaper accounts indicate that the issue of the vessel arrest was resolved through a "confidential agreement" between the parties.  The Houston Chronicle quoted me in an earlier article about the issue which can be read here

"Rouges & Vagabonds:" Gay Cruise Couple Fined, Insulted & Deported From Dominica

Dominica Senior Magistrate BaptisteIn a weird ending to a weird cruise story, two California men who were arrested on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship while it was docked in Dominica pleaded guilty to indecent exposure at a hearing yesterday and were then ridiculed by a local magistrate.

Yesterday we mentioned the bizarre circumstances surround the Atlantis Events cruise: Busted for Buggery: Controversy Surrounds Another Atlantis Gay Cruise.  

A newspaper in Dominica "DaVibes" described the incident as follows:

"Local taxi operators expressed outrage as they reportedly witnessed the defendants engaged in sexual activity on the balcony of the ship."  When the local police boarded the Celebrity cruise ship, one of the passengers responded “we were naked on our balcony but were not having sex.”

Today another newspaper in Dominica reports that the two men's lawyer in Dominica told the local magistrate at a 30 minute hearing yesterday that her clients were "remorseful" and  overcome by the beauty of the island:

"They were struck by the beautiful mountains, clear fresh air and had a few cocktails and having a few cocktails they found themselves in this indiscretion. They threw caution to the wind, they came here to have a good time and they did not mean to offend anyone” she told the court.

According to the newspaper, Chief Magistrate Baptiste (photo above left) denounced the men's  actions Dominica -Cruise Ship Passengers Arrestedas “an outrage” that was “morally wrong” in any country.  She described the men as “rogues and vagabonds.”  She fined them around $900. 

After the hearing, the local police drove the two men (photo right) to the airport to be flown out of the country.

Many Caribbean islands like Dominica, Jamaica and Barbados are openly hostile to gay travelers. Nonetheless, sex on a balcony at port seems like a good way to be arrested.  

However, the two men, Dennis Mayer and John Hart who have been partners for 17 years, deny that they were engaged in sex on the balcony.

They state that they were arrested by military police and placed in a small cell for 19 hours. They told the LA Times that "we were taunted all night long. They paraded us around like we were some oddity." They were led to a ATM at a bank to withdraw money for their fine as a crowd of residents watched. "I've never seen something like this," Mayer said. "I've never seen people chanting and protesting in the street. It was amazing."  

An AP article quotes Dominica Tourism Minister Ian Douglas as saying that tourists should abide by local laws regardless of their religious or sexual orientation, and that cruise ship officials should make passengers aware of these laws.

 

Photo credits:  

Magistrate Baptiste - Dominica News Online 

Cruise passenger - Carlisle Jno-Baptiste / AP 

Busted for Buggery: Controversy Follows Another Atlantis Gay Cruise

Another Atlantis gay cruise resulted in public controversy yesterday when police in Dominica arrested two passengers on the Celebrity Summit on suspicion of indecent exposure and “buggery” (sodomy).

Someone on the dock supposedly observed the passengers having sex on the cruise ship. The two arrested passengers were men in their 40's from California. Newspaper accounts suggest that if convicted, each one could be fined and face jail time up to 6 months.

The Celebrity cruise ship has been chartered by Atlantis Events, which specializes in gay travel.

Atlantis Events - Gay Cruise - Celebrity SilhouetteFive Atlantis cruise with Royal Caribbean / Celebrity Cruises have been plagued by arrests or deaths.

Last month, a young man went overboard from Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship off of the coast of Mexico during an Atlantis cruise.

One year ago, a passenger, Steven Barry Krumholz, was busted for selling a large amount of drugs during a gay cruise on the Allure of the Seas.  

Two years ago, a young man died during a Royal Caribbean - Atlantis cruise aboard the Liberty of the Seas while it was in the Caymans.

Three years ago, a GLAAD board member died of an apparent drug overdose on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas

This latest incident takes the controversial history of the Royal Caribbean - Atlantis relationship into the realm of the absurd.  With as many sexual assaults of women which occur on Royal Caribbean / Celebrity ships with no arrests or prosecutions during straight cruises, it is bizarre to think of passengers being arrested for engaging in consensual sex like this.  

 

Photo credit:  Alamy via Mail OnLine

Carnival Crewmember Travel Coordinator Arrested For Fraud and Grand Theft

A fifty-one year old employee of Carnival Cruise Lines has been arrested for organized fraud and theft.  

Miami resident Serafin Sanchez was arrested and booked on two criminal counts, described as organized theft of more than $50,000 and first degree fraud in excess of $100,000.

According to the arrest warrant, Mr. Sanchez is a shore-side employee of Carnival and worked as a "Crew Travel Coordinator."  His responsibilities included booking airline flights for crewmembers signing on Carnival's cruise ships around the world.

Serafin Sanchez - Carnival Cruise LineCarnival has two basic types of crew employees: (1) those who qualify for free fights to and from ports (salary employees), and (2) those who must pay for airline flights (non-salary employees).  Mr. Sanchez is accused of defrauding Carnival Cruise Lines by using his knowledge and authority to book flights for non-salary crewmembers and charging Carnival's travel account while keeping the money the crewmembers paid for the airline tickets.

The alleged scheme operated as follows:

A crewmember working on a Carnival ship would contact a head waiter on a cruise ship (identified as Rudy Saldana), who was known "to have a friend" (Mr. Sanchez)  who could arrange reduced price airline tickets. 

Mr. Sanchez would quote an arbitrary price for the ticket to Mr. Saldana who would communicate it to the crewmember.   Mr. Saldana would then collect the money from the crew member.  Mr. Saldana would deposit the money in his personal account to which Mr. Sanchez had access via a debit card.  Mr. Sanchez would then purchase the airline ticket for the crewmember but would charge the price of the ticket to the Carnival travel account.  Mr. Sanchez would allegedly pocket the money collected from the crewmember.

The arrest affidavit further alleges that Mr. Sanchez operated this "organized scheme" to defraud Carnival of approximately $132,000.00 from June to September 2011.  Mr. Sanchez  did not reimburse Carnival Cruise Lines any of cash collected from the non-salaried cruise employees.

Mr. Sanchez pled not guilty to the allegations. He is out on a $20,000 bond.  His defense counsel is Joel DiFabio whose office released the following statement:

"We are actively cooperating and working with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office in an attempt to resolve this matter as quickly as possible."   

 

Photo credit:  Mugshot via whosarrested.com

Cruise Passenger Busted for Crack in Belize City

7 New Belize reports today on the arrest of a 27-year old British cruise passenger in Belize City.

A police officer working at the Tourism Village reportedly arrested Paul Smith, after he was "acting suspiciously" and searched him. The officer found 2.3 grammes of crack cocaine inside a pack of cigarettes in Smith's pocket.

Smith pleaded guilty to trafficking and a local constable fined him ten thousand dollars to be paid forthwith, or serve three months in prison. 

The newspaper reports that Smith was unable to pay the fine and remains in jail. 

The article did not mention the name of the cruise ship.  Carnival, Celebrity, Holland, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean sail to Belize.

You can read other stories about passengers busted for drugs during cruises here.

Passenger Wrongfully Arrested On A Carnival Cruise Ship

A young couple's cruise over this holiday weekend did not end as planned.  When Paola Andrea Londono, her husband Daniel Holanda, and their 9-month-old baby returned to Florida onboard a Carnival cruise ship, law officials came to their cabin and arrested Ms. Londono.

After his wife was led from the cruise ship in handcuffs in front of thousands of other passengers, Mr. Holanda learned that his wife had been arrested on charges of prostitution and possession of drugs.

As CBS4 reports, Ms. Londono had never been in trouble and never arrested before. It turns out that the police confused her with another woman of the same name.  But the police did not bother to check anything other than her name.  The two women have different dates of birth, different social security numbers and live at different addresses.  They also do not look anything similar.  

As a result of the police's sloppy work, Ms. Londono spent two days in a detention center in Pompano Beach before she was released. 

As we have mentioned in other blogs, the names of passengers and crew members on the manifest of cruise ships are checked for outstanding warrants.  Sometimes, wanted suspects are  arrested before the cruise begins and sometimes at the end of the cruise - and sometimes not at all.  Three weeks ago, we reported on the arrest of a Carnival crew member, working as the manager of the Steiner spa on the cruise ship, who had been sailing in and out of U.S ports for years - Most Wanted Rape Suspect Arrested On Carnival Cruise Ship - Worked As Manager Of Onboard Hair Salon.   Kaloyan Kaloyanov was wanted on charges of raping a 15 year old child eight years earlier, but had worked for years on cruise ships.  He was arrested only after detectives from a city in California tracked him down.  U.S. Customs and Immigration officials in California, who are suppose to check the crew and passenger roster every time a ship enters a U.S. port, failed to realize that Kaloyanov was a criminal suspect - even though he was on a "most wanted" database of a city in California.    

It is disturbing to think that an innocent mother on a vacation cruise can be hauled of to jail like this, when a "most wanted" criminal rape suspect can avoid arrest on a cruise ship for 8 years.  It makes you question what type of security checks are really conducted on cruise ships.  

 

 

Story and video credit:  CBS4