Miami Longshoreman Nabbed In Drug Smuggling Scheme

Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Federal authorities arrested 20 people, most of them current or former longshoremen, on charges of smuggling massive amounts of cocaine through Miami on cruise ships or in cargo containers from Colombia. Two other suspects, Ernie Acosta and Fernando Martinez -- alleged to be the main importers of the cocaine -- are wanted as fugitives. All 22 were indicted on trafficking or conspiracy charges in three related operations aimed at breaking up smuggling through Miami's busy port.

"The longshoremen involved have had their grip on the Port of Miami for far too long and these cases go a long way to loosening that stranglehold," U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis said. "These conspiracies could not and would not have taken place without a trusted insider -- that is what the drug traffickers are looking for." The Port of Miami is a hub for trade with Latin America and Europe and also calls itself the capital of the cruise industry.

In one case, longshoremen unloaded containers carrying legitimate cargo from Colombia such as coffee, and set them in easily accessible areas. They allegedly opened them up for outside associates to pick up the cocaine concealed inside, then resealed them before a customs inspection. It was a "massive and ultimately very successful smuggling enterprise," bringing in 20,000 kilos of cocaine between 1992 and 1997, Lewis said. Sixteen people were arrested on Tuesday, one of whom gave himself up, by agents working on what they called Operation Bug Spray after the cargo of one container.

In a second case, three longshoremen had allegedly agreed to unload and deliver a shipment of cocaine hidden in the Royal Caribbean cruise liner Sovereign of the Seas. The cocaine was fake and so were the traffickers, who were undercover agents. The longshoremen accepted $1,000 to do the job, Lewis said. Lewis said he could not say that the operations had wiped out drug smuggling at the port. Asked if they indicated widespread criminality in the International Longshoreman's Association, he said.: "I'm not going to say the union is corrupt. I am saying that there are serious problems that need to be addressed." Customs agent Zach Mann said the Customs Service seized 80 percent of all the cocaine nabbed by federal authorities, and of that, 30 percent was in South Florida. "South Florida is still a hot market," he said. - (Reuters)

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

Rosneft and NADL Sign Exchange of Assets Deal

Rosneft, Seadrill Limited and North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NADL) signed a Framework Agreement that envisages long-term cooperation in the sphere of oilfield development projects.

YPF Oil Extends Operating Agreement with Sinopec to 2027

Argentina's state oil company YPF agreed Friday to extend its operation until 2027 in partnership with a local unit of China's Sinopec oil in an area of ​​a

Scottish Sea Farms Orders Newbuilds

Macduff Shipyards Ltd. has received a contract worth more than £3.3 million pounds from Scottish Sea Farms for the design and build of four 19.8-meter 150T steel

Legal

USCG Boatcrew Searching for Burglary Suspect

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) search-and-rescue crews are currently searching for a burglary suspect in the vicinity of the Rickenbacker Causeway near Miami, Fla. Friday morning.

US Steel Producers Win Anti-dumping Case

The United States has approved anti-dumping duties against South Korea and other producers of steel pipes for the energy sector, a victory for domestic producers

China Appeals WTO Ruling on US Solar Panel Dispute

China has appealed against a WTO dispute panel report on anti-dumping duties applied on certain Chinese products by the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Friday.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1248 sec (8 req/sec)