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

Three Cruise Lines Plan to Return to Mazatlan: Will They Provide Bullet-Proof Jackets to Passengers?

The L.A. Times Travel Section reports today that three cruise lines have announced that they plan to return to crime-plagued Mazatlan.

First, Holland America Line's Veendam will return in November. Norwegian Cruise Line's Star will return in December. The third line, Azamara, will sail the Quest to Mazatlan in February 2014.

In 2010 and 2011, Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Holland-America stopped calling at the Mexican port.  As the newspaper states, most of the cruise lines listed crime in the port as a major concern.

Mazatlan Mexico Crime - Cruise ShipThe issue of crime against cruise passengers in Mexican and Caribbean ports has been a hot topic on this blog. Read our article two and one-half years ago: Cruise Lines Skip Papua and Mazatlan, But Sail Passengers to Nassau - the Cruise Crime Capital of the World.

Don't miss reading the Gadling article: Mazatlan and Cruise Lines, Not a Good Match Anytime Soon which was published in May 2011.

But that was over 2 years ago, the Mexican tourism people say. The officials of Mazatlan assure the cruise lines that the city has new security precautions. The police and army have allegedly cracked down on crime and they invested in security cameras, accordingly to Mazatlan officials who commented to the L.A. Times. 

The L.A. Times writes that city officials hope the three cruise lines will signal to other lines that "Mazatlan is a safe, enjoyable port where the margaritas are large and luscious, the shrimp tasty and the scenery grand."

Sounds like a good Mexican restaurant in Miami to me. Someone needs to provide me with more detailed and assuring information before I pay to sail my family to Mazatlan and go ashore. 

 

Photo Credit: Mazatlan - AOL / Gadling

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

Celebrity Cruises Passenger Sentenced to 12 Years for Attempted Cocaine Smuggling into Bermuda

The Royal Gazette reports that a 52 year old U.S. cruise ship passenger was sentenced to prison for 12 years for attempting to smuggle cocaine into Bermuda. 

Jane Carmichael, from Hazelhurst, Georgia, was arrested on the Celebrity Summit when the Bermuda police accompanied by sniffer dogs came aboard the cruise ship in May of last year. 

Ms. Carmichael said that a Celebrity Cruises crew member asked her to deliver the cocaine to a bar which the newspaper did not identify. She was caught on the ship with four packages strapped to Celebrity Cruises Summit Cruise Ship Drug Busther body. The packages contained 3,452 grams of cocaine.

Ms. Carmichael had compelling circumstances for a shorter sentence.

She reportedly had been sexually abused as a child and she spiraled into depression following the death of a grandson. Her mother died a year before the cruise and she was also struggling financially after losing her job. She made several attempts to commit suicide.

Her defense lawyer argued that Ms. Carmichael had led a tragic life and had been “a victim of manipulation.”

We first wrote about this case a year ago. At that time a second passenger had been arrested, and a Celebrity crew member had been taken into custody as well. It sounds like only the drug mule and no crew members were prosecuted.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Yankeesman312

Mexican Violence: Does Anyone Cruise to Acapulco Anymore?

"10 Murdered in Mexican Pacific Resort City" reads the headline in Acapulco today, with a photo below of a bloody body lying in from of a scenic beach resort.  After such a horrific headline and photo, no one needs to read the actual article about the mutilated, dismembered and often decapitated bodies dumped in public areas of the Mexican city.

Two weeks ago, some 50 or so headless bodies were dumped on a highway near Monterrey, Mexico. The corpses had been mutilated with the dead's heads, hands and feet all cut off.

The official word from the Mexican authorities is always the same statement, carefully tailored not to scare the tourists and their U.S. dollars away - its just drug violence; don't worry the Zetas drug gang Violence Acapulco Mexico - Cruise Vacationdon't target cruise passengers; violence like this doesn't happen in cruise ports.

Perhaps it's true that there is more violence in a northern land-locked city like Monterrey, but how about a resort and cruise port like Acapulco?

A year and a half ago, USA Today asked the question in an article "Will Cruise Ships Bypass Acapulco Because Of Drug Violence?"  

Which cruise lines today are still sailing to Acapulco or, for that matter, Puerto Vallarta?  

I've written a number of articles about the dangers presented by violence in Mexico:

Two month ago, armed banditos robbed 22 Carnival cruise passengers who were traveling in a bus back to the port in Puerto Vallarta during a Carnival sponsored excursion.

Last November, armed robbers stuck up a Puerto Vallarta jewelry store while a Holland American Line cruise ship was in port.  The U.S. press didn't mention the story.

In October of last year, I posted this article: "Gun Fight in Cabo San Lucas: Is it Safe to Cruise to Mexico?" after an unbelievable gun fight in broad daylight. 

Two years ago, I wrote: "Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines Pull Ships From L.A. Due To Crime In Mexico."

After I wrote my article about the crazy shoot-out in Cabo last year, I received hate e-mails for a couple of weeks. Not from Mexicans, but mostly from U.S. citizens who moved south and are selling real estate or involved in small businesses in places like Cabo or Puerto Vallarta.

There is no question that drug-related violence is out of control in Mexico.  But do U.S. passengers who have never traveled to Mexico really take the time to distinguish Monterrey from Mazatlan when there are reports of a dozen violent murders in a single day?     

An AP article last year said that although port officials and cruise industry representatives have tried to emphasize that most violence in Mexico takes place away from cruise destinations, the message has a hard time "competing with images of beheaded bodies on the news."

Working for the Mexican tourism board or as a travel agent in LA selling cruises to Mexico seems like impossible jobs in the face of such violence.  

My view?  There are a lot of safe cruise itineraries leaving out of Seattle to Alaska I would consider taking long before sailing my family south of the border.  

 

For additional information, consider:

Photo Blog - Drug Related Killings on the Rise in Acapulco

Five People Killed at the Port of Acapulco (March 2012)

How safe is Mexico for Tourists?

In Acapulco, It's Mayhem by the Beach

 

Photo credit: Latin America Herald Tribune / Reuters (photo taken August 2011)

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."

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.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bermuda Continues Cruise Ship Drug Busts

Yesterday the Bermuda Sun reported on two additional drugs busts involving both cruise passengers and crewmembers.

The Bermuda Sun reports that yet another cruise passenger was arrested with a small amount of marijuana in his cabin.  This arrest involved a 48 year old US tourist who was arrested after Customs officers from Bermuda entered his cabin.  The cruise passenger was present and admitted having six grams of cannabis in the cruise ship safe. Customs officers claim that Bermuda Cruise Ship Drug Bustthey searched the cabin on the Celebrity Summit in Dockyard on August 17 after receiving an unidentified "tip-off."

Earlier this week I blogged about how Bermuda raises revenue by going onto cruise ships and searching for pot when there is no intention of the passengers taking it ashore.  A senior Magistrate questioned the legality of conducting random, warrant-less searches with no probable cause, as I mentioned in my article: Busted in Bermuda - Customs Officials Extort Money From Cruise Passengers By Unconstitutional Drug Searches

Magistrate Archibald Warner, who we reported on above questioning the legality of warrant-less random searches, nonetheless fined the passenger $1,000.

The Bermuda Sun also reported that  a crewmember from the Holland America Line (HAL) Veendam cruise ship was arrested on drugs charges.  Crewmember Dhimas Pradiptar allegedly conspired with unidentified "others" to bring approximately 340g of cannabis to Bermuda for purposes of selling the pot.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on $15,000 bail. He is scheduled to reappear at Magistrates’ Court on November 17th.

For more news on Bermuda and pot, don't forget to read: High Times on the High Seas - Cruise Industry Struggles with "Reefer Madness"

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.  

Rapper Big Boi Arrested for Drugs Leaving Cruise Ship in Miami

U.S. customs agents in Miami arrested rapper "Big Boi," of the hip-hop duo "OutKast," on drug possession charges as he disembarked a cruise ship.   

Big Boi Cruise Drug Arrest  TMZ reports that Big Boi (real name Antwan Patton), had "ecstasy pills, MDMA powder and Viagra" in his luggage as he was leaving the unidentified cruise ship after it returned to the Port of Miami.

It apparently is a felony to possess Viagra without a prescription.  Seems to be a tad embarrassing to be called "Big Boi" and get busted for Viagra of all things.  I have never heard of "MDMA powder" but it is apparently a purer form of ecstasy. 

Some people may jump to the conclusion that customs picked on Big Boi because he is a rapper.  But cruise passengers get arrested for drugs all of the time.  

Just last week, American passenger Richard Battistella from New Jersey was arrested when customs officers from Bermuda brought a sniffer dog onto the Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship and found "13 spliffs" in a bedside drawer in his cabin.  According to the Royal Gazette newspaper, the passenger pled guilty to importing cannabis into Bermuda (even though the pot never left his cabin) and he paid a $3,000 fine.

Big Boi was held and then released on a $16,000 bond.  His attorney gave this statement to the press: "While Big Boi was traveling with his group and friends, a small amount of contraband was found in the collective luggage . . . I am confident when the entire facts are aired Big Boi will be completely exonerated."

Meanwhile Big Boi tweeted: "Fresh Out Baby ! . . . Shiiiiit they said it was the Love Boat."  

Anyone know the name of the cruise ship he was sailing on?  Please leave a comment below.  (Other passengers are saying Carnival Valor).

Rapper Big Boi Drug Bust on Cruise Ship

For other stories about drug busts on cruise ships, consider reading:

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

Cruise Ship Drug Crimes Soar!

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

 

Photo credits: 

Top:  Big Boi Twitter page

Bottom: Gawker 

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

Royal Caribbean Crew Member Sentenced to 15 Years for Drug Smuggling

A Court in Bermuda sentenced a Royal Caribbean waiter, Ricardo Stewart, 32, of Ochos Rios Jamaica, to 15 years in prison for organizing the smuggling of cocaine on the Explorer of the Seas.  We reported on the story in a prior article - Another Royal Caribbean Crew Member Busted for Drug Smuggling.

There are articles on line from Bermuda and Jamaica about the sentencing.

Ricardo Stewart - Waiter - Royal Caribbean - DrugsThe Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda reported on the emotional statement Mr. Stewart made at the hearing:

"I’m innocent.  I’ve been working on the cruise ships for nine and a half years and taking care of my son and my fiancee and my mother.  I’ve never been involved with anything to do with the law .  .  .  I promised my son I would never be away from him more than six months. I’ve been locked up since June and the Crown wants to send me away 20 years. I will plead my innocence until I die.”

The Court indicated that it was mindful of Mr. Stewart’s two dependents his child and mother, and  then imposed a sentence of 15 years, with time spent in prison to be taken into account.

 

Photo credit:   Bermuda Sun

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

Earlier this week, we blogged about the prevalence of drugs on the Atlantis gay parties on Royal Caribbean cruise ships and asked whether the cruise line was prepared to deal with problems as the Allure of the Seas sailed this week - Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World's Largest Gay Cruise?

Steven Barry KrumholzWe received a comment to our article from a cruiser: "I've been on 13 Atlantis cruises. Friends of mine on ship are reporting one death by falling, multiple people removed at first port for drugs and a several minutes long announcement by the captain about drugs. Amazed RCCL puts up with this."

Well today the AP is reporting that a passenger from California was arrested in the U.S. Virgin Islands on suspicion of selling drugs to fellow passengers on the Allure of the Seas. According to the AP:

"Steven Barry Krumholz, 51, of West Hollywood, was arrested on board the Allure of the Seas in St. Thomas, said Jeffrey Quinones, a spokesman in Puerto Rico for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The ship had just come from the Bahamas on a charter billed as the "world's largest gay cruise."

Customs and Border Protection agents boarded the ship Wednesday and found drugs on another passenger, who said he had placed an order with Krumholz before the trip and picked them up while on board, according to an affidavit submitted by one of the investigating agents.

Agents searched Krumholz's cabin and allegedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about $51,000 in cash, the agent said.

While waiting for the suspect to return to his cabin, two more passengers came to buy drugs, according to the affidavit."

$51,000 in cash.  Wow.  That's alot of drugs sold to passengers on the Allure.

Sounds like high times on the high seas.

 

Allure of the Seas - Atlantis Events - Largest Gay Cruise - Drugs

 

Credit:  "high time on the high seas" is a quote I first heard from friend Chris Owen

Photo credit:  top - Steven Krumholz facebook; bottom - Atlantis Events facebook page

Another Royal Caribbean Crew Member Busted for Drug Smuggling

Royal Caribbean - Drugs - Explorer of the SeasIn the last couple of weeks we have reported on a Royal Caribbean drug ring smuggling large quantities of heroin and cocaine on the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship into Baltimore from the Caribbean islands.  The cruise line's spin?  Drug running is rare.  Our take - its business as usual. 

So here we go again. 

The Royal Gazette newspaper in Bermuda reports that a Royal Caribbean waiter was found guilty yesterday of conspiring to import more than $424,000 worth of cocaine into Bermuda. 

Jamaican crew member Ricardo Stewart (photo left and below) from Ocho Rios allegedly masterminded the drug operation, conspiring with fellow crew member Adrian Morris and others to import the cocaine to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.

The newspaper reports that the plot fell apart after packages containing almost 4 kg of cocaine were found hidden under a chair in the cruise ship’s disco, of all places.

The drugs reportedly had an estimated street value in Bermuda of between $424,500 and $735,375, depending on how it was sold.

Royal Caribbean - Drugs - Explorer of the SeasKelnile Bushay, another Royal Caribbean crew member arrested during the investigation, stated that passengers would take the drugs on and off the cruise ship, "with crew members stashing the drugs around the ship while the vessel was traveling between destinations." 

One of the problems we have discussed in prior blogs about Royal Caribbean crew members smuggling drugs is that some of the low paid cleaners are paid less than $600 a month (working over 360 hours a month) and are easily pusuaded into making some quick cash.  In this case, Adrian Morris, a Jamaican father-of-two, was allegedly recruited by Stewart "told the jury he earned $565 per month for his legitimate work as a cleaner.  However, Mr. Stewart offered him $1,500 to move a bag of drugs around the ship." 

Is it any surprise that Royal Caribbean crew members making only $565 a month are enticed to supplement their income smuggling some smack and blow? 

 

Photo credit:  Royal Gazette

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