October 16, 2012
According to Florida's Sun Sentinel, the drugs were discovered in a backpack during a routine crew inspection as Winston Hyman and Jimmel Thom attempted to debark the 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas in Port Everglades, the ship's homeport. Allure was returning from a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private resort in Haiti; and Falmouth, Jamaica.
In a statement, Royal Caribbean said ship's security personnel contacted local law enforcement authorities and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which boarded the ship with a canine unit. Law enforcement found Hyman and Thom were in possession of cocaine and subsequently arrested both men.
They face charges of trafficking more than a kilo of cocaine, agents told the Sun Sentinel.
Thom told detectives he and Hyman had received the narcotics from a man in Falmouth, Jamaica, according to a report obtained by the Sentinel. Thom said he was approached last weekend by the man, who previously worked on Allure, about smuggling drugs. Thom said he helped the unidentified man shuttle drugs via Allure before and that he earned $2,000 from a Fort Lauderdale recipient upon delivery. Hyman would get $1,000.
Hyman denied any knowledge of the drug trafficking. He said Thom asked him to carry the backpack that turned out to contain cocaine.
In its statement, Royal Caribbean said it maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal drugs on its ships. "We take various steps to prevent the transport of illegal narcotics, including working closely with law enforcement in all of our ports of call."
--by Dan Askin, Senior Editor