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

Contracts

Diana Charters Out Two Bulkers

Diana Shipping Inc. today announced that, through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary, it entered into a time charter contract with Bunge S.A., Geneva, for one of its Panamax dry bulk vessels,

Haven Marine Signs Service Contract with Svitzer

Haven Marine Services informs it has signed a five year contract with Svitzer which will see the yard service the requirements of Svitzer’s vessels within the Bristol Channel and Irish Sea areas.

Portugal PM Warns Lisbon Dock Workers to End Strike

Portugal's prime minister warned Lisbon dock workers on Friday that his patience was running out after a strike that has lasted a month, paralysing the city's ports.

Legal

Portugal PM Warns Lisbon Dock Workers to End Strike

Portugal's prime minister warned Lisbon dock workers on Friday that his patience was running out after a strike that has lasted a month, paralysing the city's ports.

Gender Identity Spat Sinks Spending Bill

The rancorous political debate over sexual identity unexpectedly prompted the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to rejected an energy and water spending

Hercules Offshore Filing for Bankruptcy Again

Hercules Offshore Inc said it planned to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just six months after the rig contractor emerged from bankruptcy protection.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics 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: 0.0777 sec (13 req/sec)