Two men reportedly trying to board the Allure of the Seas at PortMiami on Sunday were arrested by federal agents for possession of a large quantity of drugs which they were intending to sell on the cruise ship.
Local 10 News reports that a Homeland Security special agent intercepted emails from the government-issued computer of Peter Melendez, age 35, (Facebook page here), who is a government contractor at the Pentagon, and Robert Koehler, age 27, (Facebook page here), discussing their strategy to distribute the smuggled drugs to other passengers on the ship.
The local news station reported that after both men arrived at the port, a drug sniffing canine alerted its handler to their luggage which contained MDMA (ecstasy), ketamine, Viagra, Adderall and GHB.
The news station stated that the men were arrested on charges of illegal drug trafficking with Melendez charged with intent to traffic MDMA.
The Chesapeake Today newspaper reports that the men were planning to cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events for its annual gay cruise to the Caribbean.
In 2011, a passenger, Barry Krumholz, was arrested for selling large quantities of ecstasy pills, methamphetamine, ketamine and other drugs aboard the same Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, which was involved in this latest case and had again been chartered by Atlantis Events. There were reportedly a half-dozen drug overdoses during the cruise.
A week before that Royal Caribbean/Atlantis cruise, I wrote Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World’s Largest Gay Cruise? I questioned why Royal Caribbean tolerated the widespread use of drugs during Atlantis Events cruise parties.
In the 2011 incident, Customs and Border Protection agents searched Krumholz’s cabin and reportedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about $51,000 in cash.
Other Atlantis Events cruise parties have been marred by drug overdoses and deaths over the years.
Last year, Storm Chasers’ star Joel Taylor died of a suspected overdose on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, which had been chartered by Atlantis Events, according to TMZ and other websites. These tabloids reported that passengers on the Royal Caribbean ship stated that “drugs on the party boat were plentiful.”
In 2009, a passenger died after he reportedly took drugs during a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas cruise ship which had been chartered for the use of Atlantis Events.
In 2010, I wrote the article Another Death on a Royal Caribbean – Atlantis Cruise after a passenger died while aboard the Liberty of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events. There was widespread discussion regarding the use of drugs during Atlantis Events sponsored events.*
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Image Credit:Atlantis Events / Royal Caribbean Cruises
February 5, 2019 Update: NBC News covered the drug bust. Other major news media have been reluctant to identify the Allure of the Seas as the cruise ship where the men intended to sell the drugs.
*/A reader of this blog contacted me last week and pointed out that Atlantis Events changed it policies apparently based on last year’s death on the Harmony of the Seas. Its new vacation guide states that it will have medically-related personnel at its cruise party. At page 14 of its website under “Safety at Sea” it states:
“Our new Care Team is here to help! At all our parties and events you’ll find a team of dedicated medical professionals here to assist with absolutely anything. They will be wearing bright blue T-shirts with our Care Team logo and all have experience in working large festivals, sports events, and nightlife.
If you or anybody around you needs assistance or might need medical care, please simply ask them. They are here to help and will provide support in a nonjudgmental manner regardless of the situation. All matters are handled in the same ethical manner as in a land-based hospital.
Most importantly, please look after yourselves and each other. If you see somebody who over-indulged or is unwell, please let our team assist first.
Enjoy yourselves, but remember to take breaks to eat, sleep, and of course hydrate! Most people don’t realize how different being at sea is and how the combination of motion, sun, and late hours can sneak up on you. Take a night off once and a while and explore the myriad of options we have planned for you!
You are here on vacation, and we truly want you to go home feeling rested, not exhausted.”