| Date Published: February 22, 2012 |
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|Update: Another 30 Kilograms of Cocaine Seized From P&O's Aurora|
Updated Feb. 22, 8:45 a.m. EST -- A British national sailing onboard Aurora has been arrested in Sydney, Australia, for allegedly trying to import over 60 pounds (30 kilograms) of cocaine inside both a wetsuit he was wearing underneath his clothes and three pieces of his luggage. The 59-year-old man was stopped by customs officers and a drug sniffer dog last Friday at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, Sydney. His arrest followed the arrests of an Australian man and two New Zealanders onboard the same ship when it docked in San Francisco on January 25. It is not known if the incidents are related.
(February 15, 3 p.m. EST) -- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency has released details concerning the seizure of large amounts of cocaine from a cruise ship believed to be P&O Cruises' Aurora.
The incident took place on January 25 at Pier 35 in San Francisco and involved 13 kilos (nearly 29 pounds) of the drug, according to a statement from the American law enforcement agency.
According to news reports, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Edward Lowe confirmed that 7 kilos of cocaine had been seized from the cabin of an Australian national and 5 kilos had been taken from the cabin of a New Zealand couple in two separate searches.
The cocaine, discovered inside luggage, has a street value estimated at around $1 million. All three suspects were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
As a standard practice, Customs and Border Protection does not release the name of ships involved in such incidents. However, P&O's Aurora was the sole cruise ship berthed at Pier 35 on Jan. 25, according to the cruise-ship berthing schedule of the Port of San Francisco. Aurora is sailing on a world cruise, and had come into San Francisco, via Curacao, for an overnight stay en route to the South Pacific. The ship is currently in New Zealand.
A P&O Cruises spokeswoman told Cruise Critic in an email: “There is an ongoing investigation and we are not at liberty to discuss this further. All enquiries should be directed to the Department of Homeland Security. “
--by Jamey Bergman, Web Content Editor U.K.
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