Police seek second crew member in cruise ship drug bust

HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 25, 2011    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Montego Bay police are questioning a Jamaican crew member of cruise vessel Grandeur of the Seas in connection with Wednesday's massive cocaine seizure aboard the ship.

Yesterday a source close to the investigation told the Observer that the police were on the hunt for a second crew member who is believed to have knowledge of the more than 50 pounds of cocaine -- valued at $100 million -- that was seized.

The detainee was reportedly searched shortly after he disembarked the ship during a call at the Montego Bay port, and a portion of the drug was found strapped to his body.

During a subsequent search of the other crew member's cabin, another large portion of the drug was allegedly discovered hidden in a suitcase.

It is understood that the cruise ship, belonging to Royal Caribbean, homeported in Cartagena, Colombia before calling at the Montego Bay port yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, John Byles, president of the National Cruise Council of Jamaica, praised the police for seizing the drug. He said that the use of the cruise ship to further the drug trade would not only damage the image of the country, but the cruise shipping industry as well.

"It is unfortunate that any individual should be doing something to tarnish Jamaica and the cruise reputation like that. But I am glad that the police have been able to deal with it," Byles told the Observer during a telephone interview.

Only last Wednesday, Indian native Roshan Andranky was arrested by the Falmouth police after he was found with a small quantity of cocaine. Andranky was a passenger on the Voyager of the Seas that made its maiden call at the newly built Falmouth cruise shipping port in Trelawny.

The following day Andranky was escorted to the Falmouth Resident Magistrate's Court by immigration officers. He was found guilty and fined $2,000 or seven days in prison. He paid the fine and has since left the island.

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