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 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

Nautilus Awards Contract for Dewatering Plant Design

Nautilus Minerals Inc. has awarded a contract for the design of the Solwara 1 dewatering plant to be used on the company’s production support vessel to the Brisbane

CWind Supports Ballast Nedam at Butendiek OWF

CWind, a provider of integrated services to the wind industry, announced today that it is providing corrosion protection services to Ballast Nedam at Butendiek Offshore Wind Farm (OWF).

Sea Trucks Returns to the Gulf of Mexico

Offshore installation services provider Sea Trucks Group announced it has been awarded a charter contract for its accommodation construction vessel Jascon 31 to operate in the Gulf of Mexico,

Legal

Brazilian Police to Probe Nuclear Submarine Program

Brazilian federal police are investigating potential irregularities in a military program that aims to build a nuclear-powered submarine in partnership with France by 2023, newspaper Folha de S.

Philippines Mulls Massive Military Spend

Philippine generals on Wednesday asked Congress to almost triple annual defence spending over the next five years to upgrade equipment amid an escalating marine dispute with giant neighbour China.

Sembcorp Marine: No Sete Brasil Payments This Year

Singapore's Sembcorp Marine has not received payment from Sete Brasil on drillship projects this year and may slow down the projects if the situation persists, a company executive said on Wednesday.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0924 sec (11 req/sec)