DC Woman Charged As Mastermind Behind Cocaine Smuggling Aboard Freedom of the Seas

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Freedom of the seas in LabadeeFor most people, cruise ships are intended to be places of stress-free relaxation. A cruise vacation offers almost anything you could ever want. From the frequent, delicious meals, to multiple different on board activities, luxury accommodations and shore excursions, if you’re on a cruise, then there’s a pretty high chance that you’re there to have fun!

However, as great as it can be to get away for a few days to somewhere new, it’s important to remember that, accidents and injuries are still a possibility. After all, when a large number of people are removed from their familiar surroundings and put on a floating platform with a party atmosphere, anything can happen.

Although most people are likely to be soaking up the sun, there are some people who may have less innocent things in mind. A recent story out of DC reminds us of that.

Last may, four women from the DC/Baltimore area were arrested for attempting to smuggle more than five kilograms of cocaine back into the U.S., after a cruise to Jamaica. This week, a business manager with District of Columbia Schools is being held without bond in a Florida prison.

The mastermind behind last spring’s cocaine scheme, 38-year-old Rita Gray has pled guilty to organizing the failed attempt to bring cocaine into the U.S. aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. According to court documents, Gray recruited the four women, promising them thousands of dollars and a cruise to Jamaica, if they would agree to bring back cocaine.

Gray had flown to meet the women in Florida, but when they did not make it through customs, she flew back home. Seven months later, U.S. Marshalls arrested her. Now, her crimes are punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of 10 years to life.

Say No To Drug Smuggling

In the wake of this development, we would like to remind all cruise passengers how important it is to not break the law, and to think carefully before doing anything they would not do if they were back home on land.

After all, while a free trip to Jamaica may sound great, it is definitely not worth the punishment of being arrested for attempting to smuggle illegal substances back into the country. From our perspective, it would be far better to stay home than to wind up in jail. So do make an educated choice that keeps you out of harm’s way.

On the other hand, we recognize that sometimes even when one is careful a great trip turns bad.

So if it involves maritime law, then we are here to take your questions and offer our help. Our firm has experience with a wide variety of issues that take place at sea. And we know just how comforting it can be to have a maritime attorney on your side. So, if you have questions and are ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.