Police in Belize Arrest Three NCL Crew Members for Smuggling Cocaine

Norwegian Escape7 News Belize reports that three NCL crew members were arrested in Belize for possession of two kilos of cocaine which was picked up in Roatan and taken on an unidentified NCL cruise ship to the private destination of Harvest Caye, apparently with the intention of being smuggled into the U.S.  The news stations says that:

The police have not released any official information, but 7News has learned that 3 employees of Norwegian Cruise Lines were charged with drug trafficking for allegedly being in possession of two kilos of cocaine on a cruise ship. Our information is that the 3 men are now arrested and charged, and they are at the Belize Central Prison.

Reports are that the men, 2 nationals of St. Lucia and 1 from St. Vincent, arrived on last Tuesday, on an NCL ship which made a port of call at the Harvest Caye Island getaway. The men worked on the Ship. Reports say that the two kilos may have been picked up in Roatan.

The men were arrested, and charged, and they were arraigned in Magistrate's Court. They are now at the Belize Central Prison.

Smuggling cocaine is big business on the high seas. Two years ago, five NCL crew members on the Norwegian Sun were arrested in Tampa when the cruise ship returned from Roatan where the crew members picked up the drugs. The Tampa Bay Times reported that they worked for NCL as utility workers in the Norwegian Sun's galley.

A few months later, a NCL crew member employed aboard the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship was arrested when he attempted to smuggle cocaine aboard the ship when it was docked in Roatan.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has busted a cocaine smuggling operation where NCL crew members smuggled cocaine from Honduras to New Orleans aboard NCL's Norwegian Dawn cruise ship.

The article did not identify the NCL cruise ship involved in this latest smuggling caper, although it is believed to be the Norwegian Escape.

Costa and Princess crew members were recently arrested in cocaine smuggling schemes using cruise ships.

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June 21, 2017 Update: The newspaper in Belize identified the NCL crew members: Derson Frank, from St. Vincent; Renaldo Roberts, also from St. Vincent; and Jamal Celise of St. Lucia.

Photo credit: Arno Redenius - CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

Drug Mules Used Costa Cruise Ships to Smuggle Cocaine

For a two year period from 2012 to 2014, as many as thirty-four people who posed as cruise ship passengers on Costa ships participated in a smuggling network that transported hashish from Morocco to Brazil and cocaine from South America to Europe, according to the The Local newspaper in France.

The French newspaper reported that the "innovative and audacious" international drug smuggling ring consisted of nearly three dozen "low-level 'mules' who came from the same working class area of the city of Nice" and strapped the drugs to their bodies and carried the hash and cocaine on and off Costa cruise ships.

The drug carriers are on trial in France for smuggling the drugs between several continents. The Costa Cruise Shipsarticle says that the cruise staff on the cruise ships wondered what these young people were doing on cruises "if they were not accompanying their grandparents.”  

The article also mentioned that the the ill-fated Costa Concordia was reportedly carrying a huge shipment of Mafia-owned cocaine when she sank in January 2012.

We previously reported that several people were arrested with over 16 kilos of cocaine while disembarking the Costa Pacifica in Malaga following a Transatlantic cruise from South America several years ago.

The use of cruise ships to smuggle cocaine is a subject which we have reported on many times over the last couple of years. A few examples: 

There was a major drug bust (15 kilos) aboard the Splendor of the Seas in Buenos Aires in 2015. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship was heading to Brazil and then Europe.

In the same year, five men were caught trying to smuggle 26 kilos aboard the MSC Magnifica in São Paulo.

Three passengers were busted on a Princess cruise ship, the Sea Princess, last August of 2016, for smuggling over 209 pounds of cocaine.   

Just two weeks ago, three Princess crew members on the Island Princess were nabbed in Vancouver for smuggling five kilos of cocaine into Canada.

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Photo credit: Abxbay CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

Cocaine-Smuggling Princess Crew Members Escape Jail Time

Osland Princess Crew MembersCanadian news stations have identified the three crew members from the Island Princess who were arrested last week for smuggling drugs into Vancouver, as we mentioned in a prior article

CTV News Vancouver identified three Nicaraguan crew members, Willard Murray Brooks (age 28), Emil Hebbert Garth (age 26) and Jason West Carter, (age 32) who were recruited by a Colombian drug cartel to smuggle 10 kilograms of cocaine onto the Island Princess when it docked in Cartagena. The Princess cruise ship later called on Vancouver on May 11th after sailing to Panama and, later, to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Once the  ship docked in Vancouver, CTV reports that the three crew members smuggled five kilograms of cocaine to a shore-side food court where an unidentified man met them and later paid US$30,000 for the drugs. The men reportedly tucked the cash into their underwear before heading back to the cruise ship. Canadian Border Services found the undeclared cash when the drug mules went through screening. A Vancouver police canine unit and the Canadian Border Services then searched the men's cabins where they reportedly located an additional amount of cocaine.

The men did not dispute the charges. CTV reports the dcrew members "also said they did not fear a return to their home country of Nicaragua, where they are expected to be flown within seven days. CBSA will hold Princess Cruise Lines responsible for the travel costs."

No explanation was provided by CTV why the drug smugglers did not face jail time in Canada. It is doubtful that the three crew members will face any charges once they have been returned home.  

A one-way ticket home to Nicargua for the crew members to be paid by Princess Cruises is hardly a deterrent to international drug smuggling.

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Video and photo credit: CTV Canada Vancouver

 

Vancouver Police Arrest Three Crew Members From Island Princess For Drugs

Island PrincessA Canadian newspaper reports that the police in Vancouver arrested three Princess Cruises crew member from the Island Princess on drug charges.

CTV  that the Island Princess was scheduled to leave Vancouver for Alaska when members of the Canada Border Services Agency and the Vancouver Police Department's Canine Unit boarded the cruise ship to search for drugs on the ship. 

Princess Cruises confirmed that three ship employees were arrested but refused to identify the type or quantity of the narcotics. 

Princess Cruises was last in the news after the DOJ last December fined it $40,000,000 for wide spread dumping of oil throughout the world's oceans for nearly a decade.

In September of 2016, the police in Australia arrested three passengers in possession of over 209 pounds of cocaine aboard the Sea Princess.

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Photo Credit: CC0 wikipedia.  

95 Kilo Cruise Ship Cocaine Bust in Sydney Harbor

Sea Princess Multiple news sources are reporting that today, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested three cruise ship passengers who were smuggling 95 kilos (over 209 lbs.) of cocaine into the port in Sydney, Australia. 

SkyNews says that the AFP arrested a 63-year-old man and two women, age 23 and 28, after Australian police with sniffer dogs searched the cruise ship when it berthed in Sydney and found cocaine in their suitcases.

The newspaper reports that the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, New Zealand Customs Service and the Canada Border Services Agency cooperated with the AFP and Australian Border Force in making the drug bust.

Although none of the newspapers identified the cruise ship on which the passengers smuggled the cocaine, the only cruise ship berthing in the Sydney Harbor today was the Sea Princess.

August 29 2016 Update: The Sydney Morning Herald confirms that the cruise ship was the Sea Princess. "The seized drugs have an estimated street value of $31 million (Australian, $23 million U.S.) and this is the largest drug bust of its type on board a cruise ship. Three passengers Andre Tamine, 63, Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberce, 22, were charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment . . . The Sea Princess docked in Sydney on Sunday morning on the final stages of a 66-day world tour. The ship began the cruise in Britain at the start of July and visited Canada, the United States, parts of South America, including Colombia and Peru, and Auckland before arriving in Sydney."

October 30 2016 Update: Okay, the record drug bust story just got weirder.  Vice's Quebec Women Charged in Massive Coke Smuggling Bust Documented Whole Trip on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Sea Princess in Sydney By Bahnfrend - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Jamaican Arrested for Attempted Cocaine Smuggling on Cruise Ship In Falmouth

Falmouth Jamica Cruise PortThe Jamaican Observer reports that police arrested a man from Ocho Rios at the cruise port in Falmouth, Jamaica last Tuesday (June 28th) when he attempted to board an unidentified cruise ship. 

The newspaper says that the man was arrested with two packages, containing five pounds of cocaine, found in a false compartment of his laptop bag.

Police say the street value of the substance is estimated to be J$7.5 million or around US$60,0000.

The newspaper identifies the man as Dwayne Shirley of Great Pond, Ocho Rios, St Ann.

There is no indication whether the man was a cruise passenger or a crew member. 

Last week we reported that four U.S. cruise passengers were arrested in Port Canaveral after smuggling cocaine from Jamaica during a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas through this port. 

Two Royal Caribbean crew members were also arrested in April for smuggling cocaine aboard the Freedom of the Seas into Port Canaveral. 

Photo Credit: Falmouth, merchants near entrance to cruise terminal - Jim Walker

Four Cruise Passengers Busted for Cocaine Smuggling

WFTV-9 (ABC) reports that four women were arrested on charges of smuggling cocaine weighing a little over 6.5 kilograms at Port Canaveral last month after taking a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.  

The local ABC news station identified Lakisha Abney, Shawnta Aiken, Ciera Bryant and Shenique Milbourne as cruise passengers who departed on a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise last month. When the Royal Caribbean cruise ship arrived back at Port Canaveral on May 15, U.S. Customs officials reportedly Falmouth Jamaica Freedom of the Seasdiscovered five vacuum sealed packages of cocaine in Ms. Bryant' bra and girdle. 

The Customs officials searched Ms. Bryant after noticing that her voice and hands were shaking and she was not making eye contact. The officials then searched Ms. Abney, Ms. Aiken and Ms. Milbourne who Ms. Bryant identified as her traveling companions. The officials reportedly found several vacuum-sealed packages containing cocaine in each of the women’s bras and girdles.

The four women from the Washington D.C. and Maryland area are seen on Facebook posing for what appears to be a fun cruise.

The cruise in question called on Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica, George Town Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico. WPTV said that "while in Jamaica, the women met a man who gave them the cocaine and the bras and girdle to hide the drugs in." 

In April, WFTV reported that two Royal Caribbean crew members were arrested for smuggling cocaine aboard the Freedom of the Seas into Port Canaveral.

October 20, 2016 Update: One of the four women who pleaded guilty was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Photo credit: Shawnta Aiken Facebook page.

Story and video credit: WFTV-8 (ABC) 

December 15, 2016 Update: A fifth woman has been implicated in the drug smuggling.

Royal Caribbean Crew Members Smuggle Cocaine from St. Maartan to Port Canaveral

Royal Caribbean Cruise DrugsWFTV reports this evening that two Royal Caribbean crew members were arrested for smuggling cocaine aboard the Freedom of the Seas into Port Canaveral.

One of the Royal Caribbean crew members identified is Junior Ellision, age 31. The news station said that when "Ellision left the ship, he took a shuttle to a Merritt Island Walmart. Authorities said Ellision would pick up sandals filled with cocaine in St. Maarten and would wear them off the ship. Ellision would then go to the Walmart, buy a pair of sandals, and then put the cocaine filled sandals in the Walmart bag to deliver to someone else."

The other Royal Caribbean crew member, also from the Freedom of the Seas, is identified as Sheldon Grant. We do not know the job positions or the home countries of these two ship employees.

WFTV reports that the two crew members admitted that "they had made multiple deliveries and that someone paid them $1,250 each time" that they delivered the drugs. 

Drugs busts of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity passengers and crew members are not uncommon:

Allure of the SeasEmpress, Enchantment of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, HorizonJewell, Liberty of the SeasSplendor of the Seas, and Summit.  

Video and image credit: WFTV

April 27 2016 Update:  Crew members have told us that the two crew members on the Freedom of the Seas are from Jamaica and worked as galley utility. 

 

 

Cocaine Bust: Three Crew Members Arrested in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The Jamaica Observer reports that yesterday the police in Ocho Rios arrested three crew members aboard an unidentified cruise ship docked at the Ocho Rios Pier with a large quantity of cocaine hidden under their clothes. 

The three men were reportedly from St. Vincent. The newspaper identified the men, Lloyd Thomas (40 years old), Dasrick Moore (age 24) and Kishorn Simon (age 25). 

The newspaper says that the police stopped the three crew members when they were in the process of boarding the cruise ship. All three men reportedly had cocaine hidden in their underwear.

The combined weight of the cocaine reportedly is approximately five pounds. 

Ten days ago, a NCL crew member from St. Vincent, who worked aboard the Norwegian Sun, was sentenced to ten years in prison after he was caught smuggling cocaine from Roatan to Tampa along with five other crew members. 

We have not yet determined which cruise ships the three crew members were working on. 

NCL Crew Member Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Smuggling Cocaine

On Friday, a federal court judge sentenced a former Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) crew member to ten years in prison for his involvement in smuggling drugs from Roatan, Honduras to Tampa, Florida, according to a press release issued by the Department of Justice

Desrick Gordon, age 23, from the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. The judge ordered him to forfeit $53,369, which is proceeds of the crime. A jury found Mr. Gordon guilty on December 16, 2015.

As we reported last April, Mr. Gordon and five other NCL crew members from the Norwegian Sun were arrested after they reportedly transported packages filled of cocaine from Roatan, Honduras to the U.S. When the cruise ship docked in Tampa, the crew members handed the drugs to local drug traffickers with ties to the Honduran source.  Federal agents seized 10 packages of cocaine with a total weight of more than 7.5 kilograms. 

The other NCL cruise ship employees, Jason Carmichael, Teffan Delice, Johnson Cherubin, Alfred Ince, and Arkine John, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the case. 

We reported on the initial arrest here - NCL Crew Members Arrested for Smuggling Cocaine from Roatan to Tampa. You can see photo of the crew members here.

 

 

Coke Bust on Jewel of the Seas

Jewel of the SeasThe Daily Star reports that U.S. authorities in San Juan arrested seven people after finding 24 pounds (11 kilograms) of cocaine aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship just before it was to set to sail. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said today that a canine doing cabin inspections aboard the Jewel of the Seas found the drugs on Sunday.

Royal Caribbean says six of the arrested were U.S. male passengers. The identity of the seventh was not disclosed. 

Photo Credit:  Dave Souza Creative Commons BY-SA 2.5 / Wikipedia

 

Feds Bust Roatan-New Orleans Cruise Ship Cocaine Plot

The New Orleans Advocate reports that a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has busted a cocaine smuggling operation where crew members smuggled cocaine from Honduras to New Orleans aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) Norwegian Dawn cruise ship. 

The drug bust took place last Sunday. On line AIS tracking sites show that the Norwegian Dawn is now cruising to countries in the Caribbean / Central America, having recently left the Honduran cruise port of Roatan which is in the Bay Islands. 

Earlier this year, NCL crew members have been busted before trying to smuggle drugs into the U.S. from Norwegian DawnRoatan. Five NCL crew members on the Norwegian Sun were arrested in Tampa when the cruise ship returned from Roatan where the crew members picked up the drugs. One crew member was recently convicted and the other 4 pled guilty. 

The Norwegian Dawn was last mentioned in our article last year about a NCL Nicaraguan galley worker, tried to board the Dawn with a package of cocaine hidden under his clothes. The ship's security discovered the drugs and reported the incident to the national police, who arrested the crew member.  

The NCL cruise ship drug smuggling stories last year then reportedly involved widespread arrests of NCL crew members on the Epic as well as some on the Sun. Several NCL crew members have told me that as many as 20 NCL crew members from Nicaragua were arrested with cocaine in April last year. 

You can read about the latest NCL drug bust at the New Orlean Advocate in an article by Jim Mustian. The article mention five arrests: Asbert Lowmans, Jean Louis, Esias Felicien, Kevin John, and Alfred Dennison. The first four men appear to crew members. The last, Mr. Dennison identified as being from Jamaica, is alleged to have met with the crew member to buy the drugs. 

Photo Credit: Norwegian Dawn by Fletcher6 licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Commons / Wikipedia.

Jury Finds Cruise Cocaine Smuggler Guilty

Norwegian SunA jury in Tampa, Florida has returned a guilty verdict against a man who was part of a group of cruise ship employees who smuggled cocaine into Tampa from Roatan, Honduras. According to the Tampa Tribune, Desrick Gordon, age 23, faces 10 years to life in prison. 

Mr. Gordon is from the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He and five other NCL crew members from the Norwegian Sun reportedly transported packages filled of cocaine from Roatan, Honduras to the U.S. 

When the cruise ship docked in Tampa, the crew members handed the drugs to local drug traffickers with ties to the Honduran source.

The other cruise ship employees, Jason Carmichael, Teffan Delice, Johnson Cherubin, Alfred Ince, and Arkine John, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the case and will be be sentenced in January.

We reported on the initial arrest here - NCL Crew Members Arrested for Smuggling Cocaine from Roatan to Tampa. You can see photo of the crew members here.

Photo Credit: "NCLSunAlaska" by Image licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons. 

Cruise Cocaine Bust in Fort Lauderdale

Cocaine Cruise News outlets are reporting that a cruise passenger sailing to Port Everglades from the Bahamas was arrested after the U.S. Customs & Border Protection discovered 2.4 pounds of cocaine in the man's luggage and additional drugs taped to his ankles. 

LOCAL 10 News and Breaking 911 report that "Customs officers noticed the man nervously moving items in his luggage as he was being questioned, so they inspected the luggage and found two packages of cocaine inside."

The articles say that the passenger was arriving on a "cruise ferry" from the Bahamas on August 13th.

The Customs and Border Protection, like many Federal agencies, did not disclose the name of the cruise company in question. 

Anyone know what cruise ferry was sailing from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale on August 13th? Leave a comment.

Photo Credit:  U.S. Customs & Border Protection

 

 

 

 

NCL Crew Member Arrested in Drug Bust in Roatan

Norwegian DawnA NCL crew member employed aboard the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship was arrested yesterday when he attempted to smuggle cocaine aboard the ship when it was docked in Roatan, according to the Teledifusora Insular television station.

The television stations reports that the NCL ship employee, identified as Keneth Antonio Salas Taylor (age 35), a Nicaraguan galley worker, tired to board the Dawn with a package of cocaine hidden under his clothes.  The ship's security discovered the drugs and reported the incident to the national police, who arrested the crew member. 

Last month, five NCL crew members on the Norwegian Sun were arrested in Tampa when the cruise ship returned from Roatan where the crew members picked up the cocaine (seven kilos). Like the instant crew member arrested, these men were galley workers.  

You can read about that drug bust here.

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Photo Credit: Top Fletcher6 via Wikipedia Creative Commons 3.0; Bottom Teledifusora Insular.

 Drug Bust Roatan Honduras

Mafia Drugs Hidden Aboard Doomed Costa Concordia

Costa Concordia The Independent reports that the Costa Concordia was carrying a "huge shipment of Mafia-owned cocaine" when it departed on its final voyage, according to investigators. 

The dramatic story involves tape recordings of gang member communications which revealed that a Calabrian crime syndicate called Ndrangheta had hidden cocaine hidden aboard the Concordia, when it capsized in January 2012, as part of the organization's vast cocaine-trafficking enterprise. Police investigators say that the drugs were likely stowed aboard the cruise ship by crew members.

Shortly after the January 2012 deadly accident involving the Concordia, an analysis of strands of Schettino’s hair tested positive for cocaine. Costa issued a statement:: "On board our ships there are strict safety and surveillance measures concerning drugs possession . . . It is not allowed in any way to bring on board, possess, trade or use narcotics, drugs or psychotropic drugs."

Just two days ago, Crew-Center reported that three people were arrested with over 16 kilos of cocaine while disembarking the Costa Pacifica in Malaga following a Transatlantic cruise from South America.

In addition to vessels operated by Costa Cruises, the police investigation says that the drug cartel also transported drugs on cruise ships "owned by MSC and Norwegian Cruise Lines, which travel between Europe, North America and the Caribbean."

Last week, I wrote about a major drug bust (15 kilos) aboard the Splendor of the Seas in Buenos Aires. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship was heading to Brazil and then Europe. 

A couple of days later, 5 men were caught trying to smuggle 26 kilos aboard the MSC Magnifica in São Paulo.  

We have written about many hundreds of kilos of cocaine seized during drug busts on cruise ship over the years.

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Photo Credit: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty 

Argentinian Police Bust Royal Caribbean Crew Members with 15 Kilos of Cocaine

The Merco Press and Crew Center reports that Argentinian Police arrested two Royal Caribbean crew crew members on the Splendour of the Seas cruise ship for trying to smuggle cocaine to sell in Europe. The cruise ship was anchored in the port of Buenos Aires.

The crew members had taped the coke to their bodies. They had also hidden the drugs in a backpack.

The Splendour Of The Seas had arrived in Buenos Aires on last Monday from Punta del Este. it was Splendour of the Seas - Cocaine Smugglingscheduled to leave for Brazil and then sail to Europe. After the arrest of the two crew members, customs officials searched their cabins and other locations on the ship with 8 narcotics dogs and 20 inspectors and found additional cocaine for a total of 15.8 kilos.

The crew members, who were not identified, were a Croatian and a Chilean traveling on an Australian passport.

The drugs were worth approximately one million euros.

Drug smuggling on cruise ship is big business. So far this year alone, crew members have been busted for smuggling over 43 kilos of cocaine. In January, three cruise passengers were arrested on the Horizon with 20 kilos. Earlier this month, five crew members tried to smuggle 7 kilos drugs on the Norwegian Sun from Roatan to Tampa. 

Drug busts on Royal Caribbean ships are common. The company claims that drugs on its ships are "rare," that's hardly true. 140 pounds of cocaine were found in two drug busts on Royal Caribbean cruise ships (Grandeur and Enchantment) in Jamaica.

Royal Caribbean seems more interested in catching passengers who try to smuggle a bottle of wine aboard, than intercepting large quantities of cocaine smuggled by their own employees.

Read: Cruise line crew members busted yet again.

Photo Credit: Merco Press

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NCL Crew Members Arrested for Smuggling Cocaine from Roatan to Tampa

What's the easiest way to move cocaine from Colombia to the United States? Taking it through the jungle in Honduras and then through Belize or Guatemala to Mexico and then across the border to the U.S.? No, that's too much work. How about just putting it on a U.S. based cruise ship in the Caribbean and sailing the coke to a port in Florida?

That what a handful of crew members working for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) apparently thought and allegedly did. 

Five NCL crew members on the Norwegian Sun were arrested in Tampa when the cruise NCL Roatan Cruise Cocaine ship returned from Roatan where the crew members picked up the drugs. The Tampa Bay Times identified the crew members as Jason Leon Carmichael (photo right)(age 21), Arkine John (21), Alfred Kernel Ince (24), Teffan Delice (29), and Johnson Cherubin, (30). The Hillsborough County booking records indicate that they work for NCL as utility workers in the Norwegian Sun's galley. 

You can see photos of the other utility cruise ship workers on our Facebook page here.

The Tampa Bay Times said that four of the crew members concealed seven kilograms of cocaine in spandex underwear.  The newspaper also says that the knuckle-headed men made the "mistake of appearing unduly anxious on cell phones Sunday outside a port-side Hooters restaurant, inviting surveillance from Homeland Security Investigations agents."

Later two women arrived to pick up the dope from the cruise line dopes. The women were later apprehended driving on Interstate 75 by the Pasco County Sherrif's office. The women were identified as Simone Natoya Walters (34) and Semarie Gailann Paul (39). 

The crew members reportedly were found with around $50,000 in cash on them and Western Union receipts showing they had wired money to other unidentified persons. 

Cocaine sells on the streets of Florida for around $20,000 to $30,000 a kilo. A cruise ship utility galley member earns around $600 a month.    

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Photo Credit: Hillsborough County Sherrif's Office 

20 Kilos: Drug Bust on the Horizon

The El Universal newspaper in Caracas reports that three people carrying 20 kilos of cocaine were arrested trying to smuggle the drugs aboard the Horizon cruise ship while in port in Margarita Island in Venezuela. 

The Horizon is currently in operation by French cruise line CDF Croisières de France. The articles, however, erroneously state that the Horizon is still operated as part of the Pullmantur Cruise Line.

Another newspaper says that the ship was heading to the Dominican Republic with 1,600 passengers and 600 crew, when the authorities found 108 bundles of wrapped cocaine. 

Cruise Drug BustCruise passengers Andreina López Ramírez (26), Mercedes Salazar Benzaquén (22) and Arnaldo Salazar Rosas (34) reportedly intending to smuggle the drugs but a drug dog sniffed the cocaine out at the port terminal. 

The authorities were dispatched to the homes of the suspects where they "found lots of marijuana."

Last April crew members aboard a Pullmantur cruise ship, the M/S Empress, owned by Royal Caribbean, were arrested in a Brazilian port for smuggling 100 pounds of cocaine.

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Photo credit and hat tip: Crew Center: 20 Kilos Cocaine Found on Cruise Ship,

Norwegian Breakaway Passengers Busted in Bermuda for Drugs

Norwegian BreakawayThe Royal Gazette reports that Bermuda customs officials arrested two cruise passengers from the Norwegian Breakaway for possession of marijuana and drugs. 

A passenger from New York pleaded guilty to possessing ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis. 

According to the newspaper, cruise officials notified customs officers of a smell from the passenger's cabin. The customs officers entered and woke up a the passenger, who was sleeping. He allegedly admitted that he was in possession of the drugs. He opened the cabin safe which had "25 green pills, five yellow pills and a white powder," later determined to be ecstasy, a prescription drug and cocaine.

A local magistrate fined the passenger $3,950.

A second passenger from California also pleaded guilty to possessing pot. Cruise ship officials and customs officers searched her cabin when she was not there. They opened her cabin's safe where they found the pot. She explained she had been prescribed pot for medical reasons.

The magistrate fined her $1,000.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Dickelbers

 

Passenger Smuggles Cocaine Aboard Carnival Liberty

Ishermon Tafari - Carnival Srug Smuggling - CocaineNews sources are reporting that a Carnival cruise passenger was busted at Port Canaveral with 12 pounds of cocaine in his suitcase after returning from a Caribbean cruise. 

The Orlando Sentinel says that Ishermon Tafari, age 31, from the country of Granada, was arrested over the weekend when federal officers entered his cabin on the Carnival Liberty cruise ship.

The officers had obtained arrest and search warrants in Orlando federal court before the cruise ship returned to port. 

When the officers searched the passenger's cabin, they found powder laundry detergent poured onto clothes at the bottom of Tafari's luggage. Approximately 12 pounds of cocaine were inside the lining of the luggage.

WFTV reports that the cruise ship made stops in Turks and Caicos, Aruba and Curacao before returning to Port Canaveral.

Investigators are looking to see if Tafari is part of a bigger smuggling operation, after discovering that he sent a text to a friend while on the trip saying, "I'm on a mission [same one, different island]."

Photo Credit:  Orlando Sentinel  

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.

Coke on the High Seas: Prison Sentences for Smuggling Cocaine on MSC Armonia

Cruise Center reports news from Italy that 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.

The Judge sentenced Bosnians Mihalovič Zoran Jaksic, Mladen Miljanic, and Braim Sirani. The judges accepted the requests made by the public prosecutor Angela Masiello, who fought for the highest sentence.

MSC ArmoniaImplicated in the cruise ship smuggling operation were four other people, including a MSC crew member.

The cruise ship departed from Punta dell'Este in Uruguay and arrived at the port of Venice. 

After arriving in Venice, the 28-year old crew member Dejan Ivanovic (who was also convicted), was directed to deliver the cocaine in a Hotel in Venice. The crew member implicated the cruise ship's cook, who landed in Buenos Aires due to illness, to take the drugs to Venice in exchange for 10,000 Euros.

We have reported on drug busts on MSC cruise ships before:

Cocaine Drug Bust on MSC Magnifica Cruise Ship

Drug Bust Nabs Two MSC Cruise Passengers

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Ivan T.)

Cocaine Drug Bust on MSC Magnifica Cruise Ship

Crew Center reports that the Spanish police arrested two crew members from the cruise ship MSC Magnífica, which docked recently in La Coruña, Spain on drug trafficking charges.

The crew members were caught with 15 kilos of cocaine on the cruise ship.

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

Cruise Ship Cocaine Smuggler Lucky to be Alive

Cruise ship Cocaine SmugglingDuring a six day cruise out of Miami, Norman Mosch swallowed 87 pellets of cocaine during a stopover in Jamaica back in December of 2012.

The Sun Sentinel writes that cruise passenger Mosch swallowed 2 pounds and 2 ounces of cocaine-filled pellets after he had been recruited to smuggle the drugs back to Miami. Not surprisingly, he felt ill and spent the remainder of the cruise in his cabin.

When Mosch returned to South Florida at the end of the cruise, he spent the next several days in agony on the floor in a garage at the house of his "friend" who had involved him in the cruise drug deal.

Mosch couldn't pass the pellets although he took lots of laxatives. One of the pellets exploded and Mosch ended up in an emergency room where he underwent surgery to remove over 80 remaining pellets. He unconscious for over a month. When he came out of the coma he was charged with criminal conspiracy to import the cocaine 

The article explains that Mosch is a Vietnam Vet who has gone through some hard times. He's heading for a jail term but he's lucky to be alive.

Drug Bust Nabs Two MSC Cruise Passengers

MSC Cruise Ship - CocaineThe Crew Center website reports that two cruise which arrived in Lisbon, Portugal from Brazil earlier this week were arrested for possession / smuggling of seven kilograms of cocaine.

Two two passengers were Argentinean and had boarded an unidentified MSC cruise ship in Santos, Brazil. They arrived in Lisbon after a transatlantic cruise on a cruise ship to Lisbon in possession of the drugs.

The arrests took place in the cruise terminal of Santa Apolonia, as the two men disembarked the cruise ship into the Portuguese capital.  The men were around 40 years old. The cocaine was reportedly contained in wrapped packages that the men were carrying in two backpacks. 

 

Photo Credit: Crew Center 

Allure of the Seas Crew Members Busted for Cocaine: Alleged Drug Smugglers Included Former and Present Royal Caribbean Cruise Employees

The Sun Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale reports that two Royal Caribbean arrested in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday as they were disembarking from the Allure of the Seas cruise ship.

The crew members, both age  25, were identified as Winston Hyman and Jimmel Thom (photo below). The cruise ship had returned to Port Everglades from a cruise to Labadee, Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico.

A sniffer dog alerted to a backpack the men had been carrying. More than one kilo of cocaine was discovered inside.

Jimmel Thom - Allure of the SeasOne of the men stated that they were handed backpack from a man in Falmouth, Jamaica.  This man reportedly had previously worked aboard the Allure of the Seas.  One of the crew members, Thom, had worked with this former crew member to smuggle narcotics on and off the Allure before.  He was reportedly paid $2,000 upfront and was then to receive $1,000 once he delivered the cocaine in Fort Lauderdale. 

We have reported on drug smuggling on Royal Caribbean cruise ships before. It's hardly a rare event; you can read the accounts of crew member drug smuggling below:

Another Royal Caribbean Crew Member Busted for Drug Smuggling (Explorer of the Seas)

Million Dollar Drug Bust on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship in Montego Bay (Grandeur of the Seas)

Three Crew Drug Arrests (Enchantment of the Seas)

High Times on the High Seas - Cruise Industry Struggles with "Reefer Madness (Royal Caribbean crew members smuggling drugs into Bermuda)

The Allure of the Seas was also the cruise ships where a travel agent was arrested for dealing large amounts of drugs during a cruise. He was caught with 142 ecstasy pills, 3 grams of methamphetamine, ketamine and $51,000 cash. 

 

Photo credit: Broward County Sheriff's Office via Sun Sentinel

Drugs & Wild Sex on the Kid Friendly Disney Magic?

Disney Cruise Ship - Crew - Cocaine - SexPeople Magazine in the U.K. is publishing photographs of what it is describing as crew members snorting cocaine in their cabins. The photographs are part of an investigation into drug use aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship after a "whistleblower" reported widespread us of coke by crew members. People Magazine writes:

"Up on deck families were frolicking with Mickey Mouse on a Disney sunshine cruise.

But down below members of their crew were enjoy themselves in a different way – snorting white ­powder in their cabins.

Entertainers who delight young kiddies and their parents, ­restaurant waiters and show ­dancers hoovered up what ­appeared to be cocaine.

And they even used their Disney staff ID cards to chop up lines."  

A Disney crew member also claimed that "wild parties and casual sex were the norm" for the Disney Magic crew. According to the crew-member-turned-informant:

“It’s all very family-friendly. On deck, you have people in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck outfits Disney Cruise Ship - Drugs - Sexperforming tricks. But downstairs, staff are sniffing coke. So many people are doing it, it’s an open secret. People even do it during their shift. Staff work very long hours and it’s their only release.

We’d go to whorehouses when we were docked.

Or if we were at sea we would have wild parties in the ­cabins. You’d just lock the door and a few people would be sniffing ­almost straight away. Crew would all be sleeping with each other too. Girls never said no when they were high – it was wild."

People Magazine also discussed the  highly controversial case of Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam who vanished from the Disney Wonder under mysterious circumstances. Disney is staying mum about what really happened to young Ms. Coriam.  The "investigation" by a single policeman in the Bahamas, where Disney registered its cruise ships to avoid taxes and strict safety regulations of the U.K. and U.S., is a joke.

The Mirror magazine in the U.K. picked up on the cocaine / sex story and published several additional photographs of crew members snorting blow which you can see here.

Disney Cruise Ship - Drugs - Snow White Snorting Coke?Disney says that it has a strict anti-drug program and it runs sniffer dogs through the crew quarters.

Some readers and many cruise fans may write the story off as sensationalistic.  But my thought is that it's a real insight into the hard partying life of the crew who cruise passengers entrust with their children.

Are Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Snow White high while entertaining your kids?

It's something that cruise passengers don't want to think about. 

 

 

Photo / art credit:

Top, middle: People Magazine U.K. / Mirror U.K. 

Bottom:  Cheezburger

Coke Bust on Celebrity Sumitt Cruise Ship

The Bermuda Sun newspaper reports that Bermuda police officers arrested a 53 year old cruise passenger who tried to smuggle cocaine into Bermuda.

The newspaper states that the American cruise tourist allegedly strapped $369,000 worth of cocaine to her body and sailed to Bermuda on board the Celebrity Summit cruise ship.

The passenger is reportedly from Georgia.  Bermuda charged her with possession of cocaine with intent Celebrity Summit Cruise Ship - Drug Bustto supply on May 3rd.

After the Bermuda police were tipped that there was drugs in her cabin, they boarded the cruise ship and searched  her cabin.  She then allegedly admitted having the drugs strapped to her body. Officers then found four off-white packages inside a girdle. 

Cruise Critic has additional information, apparently based on information from Celebrity Cruises. It reports that "two female passengers and a Celebrity Summit stateroom attendant were arrested on drug charges on May 3 while the ship was docked in King's Wharf, Bermuda . . . law enforcement officers entered the passengers' cabin and found three kilograms of cocaine. At that time, the passengers implicated a stateroom attendant from Jamaica, who was also taken into custody."

More Reefer Madness - Bermuda's Screwed Up Sense of Priorities

Explorer of the Seas - Drug BustThe Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda reports today on what has become a routine activity when a U.S. based cruise ships arrives in port - Bermuda Customs officials taking sniffer dogs aboard U.S. based cruise ships and arresting cruise passengers for a small quantity of drugs.

This week Bermuda Customs officers boarded the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas and Carnival Pride cruise ships and conducted random searches of passenger cabins before arresting two passengers from New York.  The big bust? One passenger had just 1.5 grams of pot and 0.7 grams of cocaine.  Can you even get high on 1.5 grams of reefer? 

The other passenger had 13 grams of pot.

One contrite busted passenger told Senior Magistrate Judge Archibald Warner "I didn’t have any intention selling it or smoking it on your Island.” The Magistrate was unimpressed and fined the twp passengers a total of $2,400. 

Busting American passengers for small amounts of drugs is big, big business in Bermuda.  We have written about it time after time.  You can read our articles about the crooked way of Bermuda and minor drug busts below: 

Here We Go Again - Bermuda Shakes Down Another Cruise Ship Pot Head

Bermuda Shakes Down Another Cruise Ship Pot Head

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

Bermuda Continues Cruise Ship Drug Busts

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

Busted in Bermuda - Customs Officials Extort Money From Cruise Passengers By Unconstitutional Drug Searches

Magistrate Warner chastised prosecutors last year for conducting searches of passengers cabins without probable cause or a search warrant. He raised the issue whether cruise ship pot busts are Bermuda Pot - Cruise Shipslegal, "described it as “vexing” and “embarrassing” that tourists are charged for having small quantities of cannabis."

The Magistrate made these comments as he sentenced a 28 year old crewmember from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas a 12-month conditional discharge for possessing 5g of pot.

But it looks like Magistrate Warner is now part of the official machinery in Bermuda for processing small time pot heads to increase customs revenues for the island. 

Meanwhile the Captain of the Bermuda-flagged cruise ship, the Star Princess, operated by Bermuda incorporated Princess Cruises, remains free to sail the world notwithstanding sailing by three fishermen 100 miles off the coast of Panama.  The captain's I-didn't-know defense stinks.  2 young men are dead and their bodies are missing at sea.

Too bad that Bermuda focuses its limited resources on cruise ship passengers who use small time recreational drugs, rather than on Bermuda incorporated cruise lines which engage in intentional dereliction of duty leading to death of young men on the high seas.

Another Drug Bust on the P & O Aurora - This Time 30 Kilos!

Cocaine Drug Bust - Aurora Cruise Ship Newspapers in Australia are reporting that a British cruise passenger aboard the P & O Aurora cruise ship was arrested for trying to smuggle 30 kilos of cocaine into Australia.  

The British citizen is 59 years old and was busted by Australian customs officers last Friday at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney.  The customs officers used a sniffer dog.  The accounts indicate that the passenger was hiding several packages inside a wet suit which he was wearing under his clothes.  Another 25 packages of coke were concealed in three suitcases in his cabin.

Those of you who read Cruise Law News will remember that we reported on another major drug bust on the Aurora cruise ship when U.S. officials arrested an Australian man and two New Zealanders after it docked in San Francisco on January 25th.  The three passengers were smuggling 13 kilos of cocaine.

That means that In the course of one month, passengers were busted for smuggling 43 kilos (around 95 lbs) on this one ship.  The coke which must be worth up to $10,000,000 on the street.

Drug smuggling is a major problem on cruise ships.  Last year a leading maritime source, Lloyd's List, reported on the problem of drug smuggling on cruise ships.  In an article entitled "Drug Crimes Linked to Cruiseships Soar 52%," Lloyd's List stated: 

Cruise Ship Cocaine"UK based Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) told Lloyd’s List there had also been a sharp increase in drug smuggling on cruise ships, which prompted it to issue a specific alert to cruise lines. SOCA said that despite its alert, cruise operators are down playing the problem and continue to rely on existing security measures to deal with the problem.  The upsurge appears to be linked to professional drug gangs increasingly targeting cruise vessels.  According to the law enforcement agencies, drug gangs have turned to cruise ships because drug enforcement agencies have worked hard to stifle smuggling routes using yachts, fishing boats, cargo vessels and aircraft.  The gangs now see cruise ships as alternative vehicles for carrying drugs."

Major Cruise Drug Bust in San Francisco

The San Francisco Weekly Blog reported today that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) busted three cruise ship passengers in San Francisco with nearly 13 kilos of cocaine last month.

The CBP and local law-enforcement officials found two separate discoveries of a large amount of cocaine on a cruise ship at Pier 35 on January 25th after the ship arrived from Curacao, Columbia. 

Although the CBP refused to release the name of the cruise ship, federal agents released the names of the three cruise passengers arrested: Ahmed Rachid, an Australian national with over 7 kilos of cocaine in his cabin, and Tony Wilkinson and Kirstie Harris, New Zealand citizens, with over 5 kilos of coke.

It is less than clear whether this involved two seperate smuggling operations or whether the three were engaged in one drug smuggling attempt.  

The SF Weekly figured out that cruise the ship docked at Pier 35 on January 25th sailing out of Curacao was the Aurora, operated by Carnival subsidiary P & O Cruises.

The news of this drug bust came on the same day that two U.S. cruise passengers were sentenced to 6 years in jail for trying to smuggle pot into Bermuda.
 

Drugs on the Love Boat - Princess Cruises Crewmember Busted with $700,000 of Cocaine

Grand Princess Cruise Ship - Cocaine Drug SmugglingThe Crown Court in Southampton, England imposed an eight year jail sentence against a Princess Cruises bar supervisor who attempted to smuggle 1.29 kilos of cocaine with a 100 per cent purity worth  £429,000, into the U.K. 

At the current U.K. - U.S exchange rate, this is about $700,000 worth of coke.

The Daily Echo newspaper in England reports that Princess Cruise crewmember Herman Spence, age 46, from Montego Bay, Jamaica, was detained by U.K. customs officers after he left the Grand Princess cruise ship when it docked in Southampton on July 16 of this year.

The U.K. customs people examined Mr. Spence's backpack and discovered a size 13 pair of sneakers which contained the cocaine. Two other packages of cocaine were discovered in the backpack. 

When his cabin was searched, customs officials found more than £16,000 in cash. 

Princess Cruises cruise ships are flagged in Bermuda, which routinely busts U.S. passengers for small amounts of pot, but has an indifferent attitude toward violent crimes on its Bermuda flagged cruise ships. 

The newspaper reports that Mr. Spence has been in the cruise industry for 15 years.

Is this his first attempt at drug smuggling?

 

Epilogue:  Cruise lines like Princess, despite their best marketing efforts to portray themselves providing safe and carefree "Love Boat" experiences, are often associated with drug smuggling.  For example, in 1998 the original "Love Boat," the Pacific Princess, was impounded by police in Piraeus, Greece after 25 kg of heroin was found on board, smuggled by two Filipino crew men.  According to police sources quoted in the BBC report at the time, there was evidence the cruise ship had become a major tool for drug smugglers in the Mediterranean.

 

Photo credit: Daily Echo  

Carnival Cruise Passenger Busted for Cocaine in San Juan

Tribute Weekly Chronicle, a publication in San Juan, Puerto Rico, reports that U.S. Customs and Border officials in San Juan arrested a Carnival cruise passenger last Sunday  for possession of cocaine.

The arrest occurred during what is described as a random inspection of passengers arriving from St. Christopher – Nevis.  The passenger was sailing on on board the Carnival Victory.   U.S. Customs and Border officers arrested Carl Peterkin, a 27 year old U.S. citizen when they located 1,694 grams of cocaine inside his backpack.

His brother, Steven Peterkin, 23, was also arrested on conspiracy charges.

 

High Times on the High Seas - Cruise Industry Struggles with "Reefer Madness"

The cruise industry is struggling with its own form of "reefer madness" over the last month.  Here's what has been happening in the weird world of cruise ship pot heads, dealers and smugglers.  

Bermuda Bust No. 1:   Earlier this week, customs agents in Bermuda arrested two Royal Caribbean crewmembers for importing cocaine into the islands on a cruise ship. 

Reefer Madness - Cruise Ship DrugsBernews reported that two Royal Caribbean crewmembers were charged with importing 200 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of just over $52,000 last week.

35 year old Clarence James, from St. Vincent, pleaded guilty to importing and conspiring to import after he was caught with the drugs in the soles of his shoes.  He initially claimed that another Royal Caribbean crewmember, 36 year old Jamaican Delroy Duncan, gave him the shoes to wear and he did not know that there were drugs in them.  Later, he claimed that Mr. Duncan told him to smuggle the drugs ashore.  Mr. Duncan denies he gave him drugs to take off the cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean employed Mr. James as a bartender and Mr. Duncan as a utility cleaner. 

Royal Caribbean has been in the news quite a bit in the last eight months with crew drug busts on the Explorer of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, and the Enchantment of the Seas.

Bermuda Bust No. 2:   The BDA Sun reports that two U.S. passenger were arrested on the Norwegian Jade when Bermuda police conducted random searched on the cruise ship while passengers were ashore.   They were sharing a cabin and had eight grams of pot. 

Bermuda Bust No. 3:  The BDA Sun also reports that last month a U.S. cruise passenger  from Connecticut was fined $800 for a small amount of pot which the Bermuda police obtained after searching the Celebrity Summit.  The police conducted random searches of passenger cabins with a sniffer dog.

Bermuda Bust No. 4:   The authorities in Bermuda arrested a 39 year old cruise tourist from New Jersey last month as well.   A sniffer dog found 13 cannabis cigarettes in the passenger's bedside table on board Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.  The BDA Sun indicates that the passenger left the island after paying $3,000.

The authorities in Bermuda seemed skilled at violating the rights of cruise passenger by entering cabins without any pretense of probable cause to look for small amounts of pot.  I wonder if citizens in Bermuda have the right against unlawful searches and seizures?    

St. Thomas:   A Royal Caribbean passenger, Steven Barry Krumholz, recently admitted selling large quantities of ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine to fellow passengers during a cruise on board Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas during what was billed as the largest gay cruise in the world last February.  He had $51,000 on him when arrested.  

We blogged about the incident - Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.  It was one of the most read articles ever on Cruise Law News with around 270 people "liking" it on facebook or tweeting it on Twitter. 

Federal Chief District Judge Curtis Gomez set sentencing for November 2nd.  Unlike the passengers who were caught with a couple of joints, Mr. Krumholz is in a world of trouble.  The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Reefer Madness - Cruise Ship DrugsMiami:   Perhaps the highest profile cruise related drug bust was last week when U.S. Customs officers arrested rapper "Big Boi," of the hip-hop duo "OutKast," on drug possession charges as he disembarked a cruise ship.  You can see his mugs shots here.  Seems like Big Boi or members of his posse like ecstasy and Viagra which is a crime to possess without a prescription. 

But unlike Bermuda where the customs officer entered passengers with dogs looking for drugs, in Miami the K-9 sniffer dogs got him after he left the cruise ship and was in the terminal. 

The interesting thing about all of these cases is that none of the drugs were found by the cruise line.  It makes you wonder about cruise ship security, doesn't it?  It seems easy to smuggle drugs past the shipboard security. The cruise ship security seem to be experts in confiscating your bottle of Chardonnay in your suitcase to keep liquor sales up for the revenue department.  But they don't seem interested in your reefer. 

The port authorities, especially in Bermuda, are a different matter.  They love to bust Americans, particularly U.S. passengers with just a quarter ounce of pot back in the cabin for personal use.  

God forbid that a stoned cruise passenger enter the port and wander around eating brownies and a big bag of Doritos.  

Cruise Ship Drug Crimes Soar!

This week we reported on a cruise bust on a cruise ship in the Cayman Islands involving a group of crew members from Jamaica and St. Vincent.  It sounds like the drug busts we reported on involving Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and the Enchantment of the Seas.    

There is no question that drug smuggling on cruise ships is seriously on the rise.

Today my perception of the extent of the problem can into focus when I read the highly respected Cruise Ship Drugs maritime source Lloyd's List's report on the problem of drug smuggling on cruise ships.  In an article entitled "Drug Crimes Linked to Cruiseships Soar 52%," Lloyd's List stated:

"UK based Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) told Lloyd’s List there had also been a sharp increase in drug smuggling on cruise ships, which prompted it to issue a specific alert to cruise lines. SOCA said that despite its alert, cruise operators are down playing the problem and continue to rely on existing security measures to deal with the problem. The upsurge appears to be linked to professional drug gangs increasingly targeting cruise vessels. According to the law enforcement agencies, drug gangs have turned to cruise ships because drug enforcement agencies have worked hard to stifle smuggling routes using yachts, fishing boats, cargo vessels and aircraft.  The gangs now see cruise ships as alternative vehicles for carrying drugs."

The statistic that blew me away was that the number of drug crimes detected in the US linked to cruiseships increased last year to 663, according to figures obtained by Lloyd’s List from the US Border Agency!

The presence of such large quantities of drugs on cruise ships reflects several problems with the cruise industry:

(1)  The notion that cruise lines perform background checks on their employees is a joke.  The fact of the matter that some of the waiters, bartenders, and cabin attendants serving your family during the cruise are drug smugglers. 

(2)  The cruise lines are more skilled at catching passengers who try to smuggle a bottle of Chardonnay wine aboard, than they are guarding the ship entrances for drug-smuggling crew members and large amounts of provisions loaded by fork lifts. There are simply not enough security guards aboard cruise ships.  The cruise industry knows it.  The reality is that cruise lines are more interested in making money selling booze and confiscating wine and alcohol brought aboard by passengers than intercepting large quantities of cocaine smuggled by their own employees.

(3)  The presence of professional drug gangs presents a huge risk of violence against passengers and crew members who see suspicious drug-related activities on the cruise ship.  It is easy to get tossed overboard if you see something you shouldn't have seen. 

The cruise line's CCTV cameras never seem to work when this happens.

 

Photo credit: AOL News - Are Drugs on Cruise Ships on the Rise?
 

Cruise Ship Drug Bust in Cayman Islands

Cayman News Service reports that three crew members were arrested for possession of two kilos of cocaine.  The cruise employees were from St. Vincent and Jamaica. 

As is often the case, the local police did not identify the name of the cruise ship or cruise line. 

The three cruise ships in port at the time of the arrest were Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas, the German AIDAluna, and Oceana.

I'm taking bets.  2 to 1 its Royal Caribbean - the cruise line drug dealers prefer .  .  . 

 

 

Video credit:  Cayman 27 

 

Million Dollar Drug Bust on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship in Montego Bay

The Jamaica Observer is reporting conflicting stories about a large drug bust on a cruise ship in Montego Bay yesterday.  The cruise ship had sailed from Columbia.

In one article, the newspaper reports that 50 pounds of cocaine valued at over one million dollars (U.S.)  was seized yesterday from a cruise ship in Montego Bay Jamaica.  22 pounds of cocaine was found strapped to a passenger.  The passenger was identified as Ricardo Chin.  Another 28 pounds of coke was found in a suitcase in a cabin occupied by another passenger.  It is less than clear whether there is a connection between the two passengers

Yet in another article, the Observer reports that Royal Caribbean says authorities in Jamaica have detained two crew members from one of its cruise ships after they were found with cocaine when the ship was docked in Montego Bay.  The cruise line says in a statement that customs officers found 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of the drug on one of the crewmen and 15 kilograms (33 pounds) in the cabin of another crew member on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas

Drug busts on Royal Caribbean cruise ships have been a common occurrence lately:

Royal Caribbean Crew Member Sentenced to 15 Years for Drug Smuggling

Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Another Royal Caribbean Crew Member Busted for Drug Smuggling

Drug Bust on MSC Poesia Cruise Ship

MSC Poesia - Jam Fest CruiseFederal and local agents with K-9 dogs raided the MSC Poesia earlier this week looking to arrest passengers with drugs.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S.Marshals Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Broward Sheriff's Office participated in the raid.  

The raid targeted the cruise ship right at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale before it sailed with music fans on its Jam Fest cruise around the Caribbean.  The raid resulted in the arrest of some passengers and the seizure of small quantities of pot, mushrooms, hash oil, LSD, Ecstasy, and prescription drugs as well as unspecified drug paraphernalia.   

It sounds like this was a raid targeting the music fans on the belief (hope) that they brought drugs aboard for the Jam Fest cruise.  But it sounds like the seizure was just small amounts of recreational drugs.

The real problem with drugs on cruise ships is when crime cartels use cruise ships to smuggle large quantities of cocaine and heroin.  Early this week a story broke indicating that "Drug Gangs Target Cruise Ships."  The article mentioned that that "gangs are placing couriers on board ships, and also attempting to corrupt crewmembers, in order to bring in "multi-kilo loads" of drugs."  Eight eastern Europeans were recently sentenced in England after being convicted of attempting to smuggle over 75 pounds of cocaine (worth millions of dollars) ashore from the MSC Orchestra when it arrived in Dover from Brazil last year.

Last week three Royal Caribbean crew members from the Enchantment of the Seas were arrested smugging drugs into Baltimore.  

As Gadling points out, all the DEA and drug sniffing dogs accomplished during the overblown raid on the Jam Fest cruise was to make sure that there would be no high times on the high seas . . . 

 

Logo credit:  Florida Music Blog

Cruise Visitors To Jamaica Busted For Drugs

RadioJamaica.com reports that an American and a Serbian were arrested this week in Jamaica on drug charges after cruising to Ocho Rios.  

On Thursday, cruise passenger 37-year-old Brantley Black of South Carolina was reportedly caught with ganja and cocaine after attempting to re-board the cruise ship.  He taken to the Ocho Rios Police Station where he was charged and taken to jail.

On Monday, a Serbian citizen, 30-year-old Tomislav Miprovic, was also arrested after police searched his cabin on a cruise ship which docked in the Ocho Rios.  Several syringes containing heroin were found.  Mr. Miprovic pleaded guilty to possession of heroin, and he was fined $350,000 or six months in prison.  It is less than clear whether he was a passenger or crew member.

The identity of the cruise lines and names of the cruise ships were not identified.  We see this quite often - the local authorities do not wish to embarrass the cruise lines which are vital to the Cruise Ship Drugs - Pot - Cocaine - Heroineconomies of the Caribbean islands.

We have written about drugs on cruise ships in prior blogs:

Cruise Ships & Drug Smuggling

Another Death on a Royal Caribbean - Atlantis Cruise

Microsoft Offered A "Sex and Drugs" Cruise to Distributors?

Cruise Passenger Imprisoned for Smuggling Cocaine

One of the more remarkable cruise drug smuggling stories occurred last year when drug traffickers  used passengers to smuggle cocaine on board trans-Atlantic cruise ships

Women posing as tourists picked up the drugs in South America and hid them in their suitcases with the intention of delivering the drugs once the cruise ship docked in Spain.

 

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Cruise Passenger Imprisoned for Smuggling Cocaine

Cruise Ship DrugsBBC News reports that a cruise passenger was jailed for seven years for smuggling 1.5 kilos of cocaine into the United Kingdom. 

The UK Border Agency arrested cruise passenger Ben Hartland as he disembarked the Black Watch cruise ship in Southampton last November.  He was busted after the custom officers found the drugs in his "rucksack."

BBC News has a less than flattering photo of the young man (left) after he was arrested for drug smuggling.  The cocaine has a street value over $500,000.

He reportedly was paid around $3,000 to smuggle the drugs.  A free cruise and $3,000 to be a "cruise drug mule?"  

We have commented that cruise ships are routinely used by both passengers and crew members to smuggle drugs.  Read our article: "Cruise Ships & Drug Smuggling"

 

Credits:

Photograph    BBC News