Cruise line employees busted with cocaine in Jamaica

Two crew members of a cruise liner visiting Jamaica were busted on Feb 24 in Montego Bay for having close to 75 pounds of cocaine on board their ships.

A Royal Caribbean Cruise Line statement disclosed that
Jamaican authorities detained a crew member on one of its ships on Feb 23, after he was found with 18 kilos of cocaine in his possession and later boarded the cruise liner, Grandeur of the Seas, where they found an additional 15 kilos in the cabin of a different crew member.”

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines issued a statement saying it was “cooperating fully” with Jamaican authorities during the investigation and would “continue to provide any assistance necessary to prosecute the individuals to the fullest extent of the law.”

The cruise line said earlier this month that an American passenger on board its Allure of the Seas was arrested under suspicion of trafficking in narcotics.

Authorities said they found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly three grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about US$51,000 in cash in the cabin of Steven Barry Krumholz.

In December, U.S. federal authorities arrested and charged three Jamaican cruise ship employees and two others for smuggling heroin and cocaine through the Port of Baltimore.

According to the indictment, on Feb. 23, three crew members of Royal Caribbean’s 989-foot “Enchantment of the Seas” Gavin Excell, 35, John Swart Garth and Kishurn Neptune, both 27 obtained the drugs in the Dominican Republic during a trip in mid-December.

U.S. prosecutors said the crew members planned to sell the drugs to two people from Virginia at the Walmart Department Store in Baltimore’s Port Covington neighborhood.

Prosecutors identified the two Virginians charged as Loxly Johnson, 48, and Shenika Nicole Graves, 34.

Prosecutors said Johnson was a Jamaican citizen, who was also a holder of a U.S. green card. It was not clear if Graves was Jamaican or has Jamaican roots.

Excell, Graves and Johnsn were earlier indicted on conspiracy to import heroin and cocaine charges.

U.S. authorities said a ship security officer had alerted them on Dec. 17 of possible drug smuggling aboard the Royal Caribbean ship.

Federal agents said they intercepted Excell when he disembarked, finding 700 grams of heroin stored in his waistband and about 300 grams of cocaine packaged as shoe insoles.

Last month, authorities in Baltimore said drug sniffing dogs located nearly US$100, 000 worth of cocaine and heroin onboard the Enchantment of the Seas.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said they found the 1 ½ pounds of heroin and nearly a pound of cocaine inside a locker in an area of the ship only accessible by employees.

The Enchantment of the Seas was searched after it docked in Baltimore, following a 12-day cruise that included stops in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands.

“We take various steps to prevent the transport of illegal narcotics, including working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” Royal Caribbean said.

“Royal Caribbean International cooperated fully with authorities and will continue providing any assistance necessary to prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law,” it added.

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