Cruise ship passengers convicted in $100m drug bust
The eight people who tried to smuggle cocaine worth over $100 million out of Jamaica on board a cruise ship have been convicted of drug charges.
The seven Americans and one Jamaican, who resides in the United States, pleaded guilty in the St Ann Parish Court on Tuesday to possession of and taking steps to export cocaine.
They are Haley Lawrence, Kaley Hal, Yakine Jones, Jamari Kitchin, Troy Craig, Javonte Johnson, Takelia Hooks and Tyshaena Rinson, who all reside in the State of Florida.
Five are college students.
Charges of conspiracy and dealing in cocaine were withdrawn by prosecutors.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.
During plea mitigation submissions in court on Tuesday, their attorneys, Odane Marston and Donnovan Collins, described the actions of their clients as naive and pleaded for leniency.
The attorneys pointed out, too, that all eight are young, first-time offenders who are deserving of a second chance.
The eight disembarked a cruise ship in Ocho Rios, St Ann, after it arrived from Miami, Florida, earlier this month, according to a police report.
Anomalies were detected in their luggage as they attempted to reboard the vessel for departure.
During a search by detectives assigned to the police Narcotics Division, a total of 24 packages containing 17 kilo grams of cocaine were found concealed in their bags.
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