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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

Boskalis Secures Dike Reinforcement Project

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. announced that the Noorderzijlvest district water board intends to award the contract for the Eemshaven-Delfzijl dike reinforcement

Wärtsilä, Zamakona Yards Join forces in Canary Island

Wärtsilä is enhancing its service offering by participating in a new maintenance hub in the Canary Islands. The facility, operated by one of Spain's biggest shipbuilding and ship repair groups,

Diana Shipping Enters Contract with SwissMarine

Diana Shipping Inc., through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary, has entered into a time charter contract with SwissMarine Services S.A., Geneva, for one of its Ice Class Panamax dry bulk vessels,

Legal

CMA CGM Crosses 91.05% Ownership Threshold of NOL

CMA CGM S.A has crossed the compulsory acquisition ownership threshold in Neptune Orient Lines Limited (NOL).    Following its all-cash voluntary conditional

ECDIS Related Detentions on the Rise

ClassNK has been informed by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) that during PSC inspections it has been increasingly reported that vessels have been detained

CMA CGM Crosses 90% Ownership Threshold in NOL

Container shipper CMA CGM S.A. has crossed the 90 percent ownership threshold in Neptune Orient Lines Limited (NOL), enabling it to bring the Singapore company private.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.0690 sec (14 req/sec)