French Cruise Passenger Charged With Smuggling 24 Kg of Cocaine Into New Zealand

This week, a 26-year-old man, Alexander Steeve Yelengwe Yonkwa-Dingom, originally of French origin, was caught attempting to bring 24 kilograms of cocaine into New Zealand on a cruise ship. Officials estimate the cocaine has an estimated worth of $6.8 or $10.8 million NZD, and report that this is one of the largest seizures in New Zealand history.

The alleged smuggler has been charged with possession for supply of a class A drug, as well as failing without reasonable excuse to assist police exercising a search power when requested to do so. He faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the drug possession charge.

According to authorities, crime syndicates are increasingly seeking every opportunity to import illegal substances. As a result, cooperation between the necessary crime-preventing authorities is especially crucial during this time.

Cruises Can Attract Drug Traffickers

Although most cruise passengers would not suspect drug traffickers to be in their midst while they’re enjoying a few relaxing days at sea, the truth is that drug smuggling does occur on cruise ships. Individuals, both crew and passengers are persuaded to carry the illicit substances in return for cash. On the surface, the offer may appear to be worth the risk, however, in most cases, smugglers underestimate the ability of customs officials to detect these prohibited items.

Because drug smugglers attempt to keep a low profile, so as not to be discovered by the authorities or anyone else on their cruise, it is unlikely that they will pose a threat to other passengers. However, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for your own safety while you are at sea. This includes resisting any request to assist anyone with bringing anything on board or off the ship in exchange for anything unless you know who is making the offer and you verify that what you are being asked to carry for them is not going to get you into trouble with vessel security or shored side authorities.

Always Put Your Safety First

The truth of the matter is that no one else will look out for your safety as well as you. Despite the cruise industry’s attempt to paint an image of tranquility and relaxation at sea, accidents and injuries as well as crimes can take place anywhere. So do yourself a favor and remain vigilant of your surroundings at all times.

At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we understand that tragedy can strike when you least expect it. That is why we do our best to make sure to expose the risks so you can prepare for whatever life throws your way. Although most cruises do go off without trouble, it is far better to be prepared. Nonetheless should an accident or injury befall you while you are cruising, rest assured that we are here to help.

LMAW, PA Can Help

The maritime lawyers on our team have a combined 100 years of experience in maritime law. This means that you can rest assured that you would be in good hands, entrusting us your case. So before your legal situation spirals out of control, or if you are seeking legal guidance from a firm, you can trust, do not hesitate to contact us.

We are ready to take your case, so that you can get the resolution you deserve and the freedom to move forward with your life.