The 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