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Drug Rings Busted

November 19, 2001
How Not To Win A Free Cruise: U.S. Customs’ “Operation Smooth Sailing,” aimed at uncovering drug smuggling rings between Jamaica and Key West, resulted in the conviction of a onetime federal prison officer who hired “couriers” to sail on cruise ships. These passengers, whose cruises were paid for by the smuggling operations, picked up the drugs in Jamaica and stowed them in luggage or taped them to their bodies before disembarking in Key West -- and handing over the illegal “loot.”

According to investigators, Operation Smooth Sailing involved more than 19 (smuggler) passengers who transported some 180 pounds of cocaine and 40 pounds of hashish.

A Customs spokesman refuses to disclose on which cruise ships the operation took place.

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