Trio of Royal Caribbean Crewmembers Charged With Smuggling Heroin and Cocaine

December 29, 2010

(5:30 p.m. EST) -- While Baltimore was spared from the worst of the weekend snow, crewmembers from Royal Caribbean's Charm City-based Enchantment of the Seas were charged on Tuesday in connection with another sort of white powder.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that three employees of the cruise line -- 35-year-old Gavin Excell and John Swart Garth and Kishurn Neptune, both 27 -- tried to smuggle 700 grams of heroin and 300 grams of cocaine from the Dominican Republic into Baltimore. Citing U.S. Homeland Security documents, the Sun reports that the drugs were found hidden in Excell's waistband and shoes on December 18, the day Enchantment arrived in Baltimore.

According to the documents, the three men had planned to deliver the drugs at the Port Covington Walmart, near the cruise terminal, to Loxly Johnson and Shenika Nicole Graves, who reportedly drove to Baltimore from Virginia.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean noted that customs officials were notified by the ship's security officer about potential illegal activity. The release adds that the "line cooperated fully with authorities during this investigation and will continue providing any assistance necessary to prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law."

While cruise-related drug busts are not unheard of, they more often involve passengers, rather than crew. In May, two Royal Caribbean passengers were arrested for possession of cannabis and a Taser gun while Enchantment of the Seas was docked in Bermuda.

Only a two days later, border officers seized about $2.1 million worth of cocaine -- some 35 kilos -- from cabins aboard MSC Opera while it was docked in Dover, England. Eight individuals from Latvia and Lithuania were arrested and charged with drug smuggling.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor