Cruise ship, cocaine, underwear, but no smooth sailing

Published March 10, 2015

TAMPA — Seven kilograms of cocaine cruised to Tampa from Honduras last week aboard the luxury liner Norwegian Sun, but minus the fresh ocean view. Authorities say the powder traveled in spandex underwear worn by four male crew members.

They made the mistake of appearing unduly anxious on cell phones Sunday outside a port-side Hooters restaurant, inviting surveillance from Homeland Security Investigations agents.

Two women arrived in a car, picked up three of the men and then returned them to the port an hour later, minus their cargo, according to a federal complaint.

The women checked out of a hotel where the group had met and then drove up Interstate 75, only to be stopped by a Pasco County deputy with a narcotics-sniffing dog, the complaint states. A vehicle search uncovered four bundles of cocaine.

Seven people, including an alleged lookout, were booked Monday night into the Pinellas County jail on federal drug smuggling charges. Only one listed a U.S. address, Simone Natoya Walters, 34, of Laurel, Md., who, along with Semarie Gailann Paul, 39, was stopped in the car.

Back at the port, the men were found with nearly $50,000 in cash and Western Union receipts showing they had wired money to others, the complaint states. The crew members were identified as Jason Leon Carmichael, 21, Arkine John, 21, Alfred Kernel Ince, 24, Teffan Delice, 29, and Johnson Cherubin, 30.