For most people, a cruise is a time of relaxation and fun, free from the concerns of daily life. After all, there are so many other stressors on a daily basis; it is usually a welcome relief to get some time away from the hassles of work and routine responsibility. As a result, the environments aboard cruise ships and at the ports of call focus on pleasure. With so much to see and do, you will likely be busy from sun up to sundown, taking in all that your vacation has to offer.
However, some individuals search for pleasure includes activities that are not legal. It is a common occurrence for the authorities to discover that passengers and crewmembers have smuggle illegal substances on board to bring back into the U.S., especially after a stop in the Caribbean or countries south of the border. A recent story out of New Orleans reminds us of this.
Cocaine Ring Busted by Homeland Security Agents
This week, 58-year-old Alfred “Uncle” Dennison was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison, along with a $5,000 fine. The charge? Dennison plead guilty to importing Honduran cocaine into New Orleans with the help of several cruise ship employees.
In January of 2016, federal agents from Homeland Security spotted three suspicious cruise employees during routine surveillance at the cruise terminal. The agents watched as the three employees entered a restroom and began to remove packages of cocaine, hidden beneath their clothing. The agents ultimately detained four cruise employees that day, seizing a total of 4.75 kg of cocaine, and discovered that the packages were intended for Dennison.
Dennison, a joint citizen of Jamaica and the U.S., was arrested in a hotel near to the cruise terminal. With him, he had $19,000 in a plastic bag.
This was not the first time Dennison had attempted a smuggling operation of this scale. In fact, he had successfully trafficked four previous shipments of the narcotic, all containing similar quantities.
There is no word on the outcome of this case for the cruise employees who were involved in carrying the illegal substance into the U.S. However, as similar cases in the past have shown, they are far from being considered off the hook.
Cruise Safety Is Our Number One Concern
In the wake of this situation, we are glad to know that no one was physically harmed as a result of drug smuggling aboard the undisclosed cruise ship. Safety is always our number one concern. However, we are well aware of the fact that this is not always the case. As a maritime law firm, we have helped countless clients navigate accident or injury cases that they have suffered because of their time aboard a major cruise line.
As a result, we understand that the legal situation you are facing may be overwhelming. Fortunately, with our breadth and depth of experience, a maritime lawyer on our team is prepared to help you get back on your feet, so you can return to living the life you deserve. So if you are ready to move forward and put this legal burden in the past, do not hesitate to contact us.