A Nicaraguan galley worker has been arrested in Roatan in the Caribbean after allegedly attempting to board the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn with cocaine hidden in his clothing.
The man, identified by local media Teledifusora Insular as Keneth Antonio Salas Taylor, 35, was discovered carrying a package around his waist by ship security personnel. According to Cruise Law News, the security staff then reported the incident to local police.
Last month, five galley workers on the Norwegian Sun were arrested in Tampa over the smuggling of seven kilograms of cocaine from Roatan, says Cruise Law News.
In a separate incident last month, Argentine police discovered 15kg (33 pounds) of pure cocaine on Royal Caribbean Line’s Splendour of the Seas. Customs officials seized the drug, worth over a million dollars, from two crew members when the ship docked in Buenos Aires.
In February, insurer Skuld issued an alert to shipowners saying that there has been an upsurge in smuggling attempts in the Caribbean. Part of the reason for this increased seaborne activity by smugglers is increased vigilance at the U.S. Mexico border, which means new routes are being sought into the U.S. and alternative routes are being expanded.
The US government spends billions of dollars annually to interdict the trafficking of illegal narcotics, and it is estimated that nearly five million people in the US used cocaine in the last year.
Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs costs the U.S. more than $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care. Rehab International estimates that 15,000 Americans die every year due to cocaine use and complications that result.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy, led by Former UN Attorney General Kofi Anan, eight former presidents, and entrepreneur Richard Branson, urges the end of drug prohibition and the redirection of government funding from police and military to regulation and healthcare.