Security on a cruise ship found 69.5 pounds of cocaine stashed on board last week. Upon docking the vessel at a port in Florida, they turned it over to officers for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to a statement from that agency.
CBP officers who were stationed at the Port Everglades seaport were alerted about garbage bags and brick-shaped packages containing the drugs after they were told by cruise officials who found them during an inspection.
A meeting held on June 6 between Border Protection officers and the cruise ship team led to the packages testing positive for cocaine.
A “thorough inspection” of the ship failed to locate any additional contraband.
In a statement, the port director of field operations for Port Everglades/Fort Lauderdale praised the find.
“This seizure is indicative of the excellent collaboration CBP has with our industry partners to detect and interdict illegal drugs being smuggled into our nation,” the statement read. “Our officers strive daily developing and enhancing our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, industry partners and the citizens of our community to stop criminal activity at our borders, be it land, air or sea.”
The find comes after cruise ships are again venturing out because many people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last March, the cruise industry had shut down after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No Sail Order. Via updated guidelines issued last month, cruise ships may now run simulated voyages with passengers who volunteer. Many lines are aiming for a resumption of normal operations in U.S. waters by the summer. CNN reports that other companies outside of the U.S., including the European-based MSC Cruises, and Italy’s Costa Cruise Lines, have started up again.