Cruise Ship Used in Transatlantic Trafficking Scheme

( – Two passengers on a Norwegian cruise ship were caught bringing over a hundred bags of marijuana onto the vessel. The charging documents accuse Savannah Rose Minami and Michael Quesenberry of bringing just under 72 kgs of weed onto a cruise which was scheduled to depart from Miami and land in Southampton, England.

Authorities with drug-sniffing dogs found the contraband in the room on January 11th. They found two caches of 56 individually prepared baggies in both Quesenberry and Minami’s rooms, the pair claiming they had “just met” on the boat at a bar.

The criminal complaint suggested drug smugglers were increasingly transporting illegal drugs to England from the U.S. The higher price of marijuana in England encourages traffickers to attempt to smuggle it overseas to make a profit. Unfortunately for those who get caught, there’s very little profit in jail time.

Individuals frequently attempt to smuggle drugs on cruise ships for personal use or massive amounts for redistribution. Two sisters were busted last summer for allegedly smuggling nearly 5 kgs of cocaine in their suitcases during a week-long cruise out of Miami into Mexico and across the Caribbean.

The two women had their luggage inspected for reasons unknown when the vessel returned to Miami. The criminal complaint reported that a drug sniffing dog gave an alert after sniffing their bags which triggered a more thorough screening. That was when Customs and Border Patrol officials found the cocaine.

Located inside their luggage each sister had a Samsonite backpack which was modified to have hidden compartments. Inside each compartment, authorities found foam-covered packages with white powder inside that tested positive for cocaine. The total weight of the cocaine was 4.75 lbs. Each kilogram has an estimated street value of between $15,000 and $40,000.

Security footage reviewed by authorities showed the sisters taking the backpacks with them on excursions and noted that after a specific stop the sisters ceased taking the backpacks with them when they left the ship. The women denied knowingly transporting cocaine and entered not-guilty pleas.

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