Man Authorities Say is Major Caribbean Drug Dealer Arrested on Cruise Ship
Federal agents were waiting onboard the 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess for Jorge Luis Figueroa Agosto. He had boarded the weeklong Caribbean cruise in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with his wife, two children and in-laws.
The arrest was made without incident before the ship reached its first port of call in St. Thomas, says John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The cruise ship is on a weeklong Caribbean sailing that includes the Thanksgiving holiday. Princess Cruises spokeswoman Julie Benson tells AOL Travel News the cruise line cooperated with authorities and that other passengers were not aware of the bust.
Agosto, a Puerto Rican body shop owner, is accused of helping his brother, Jose Figeroa Agosto, run the largest drug smuggling operation in the Caribbean. Jose, who has been nicknamed the "Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean," a reference to the infamous Colombian drug lord, was captured in July after a major manhunt.
Federal agents this week sought the arrest of a total of 17 alleged members of the organization, and captured 11 suspects including Jorge, with the others still at large.
Morton says the organization transported large amounts of cocaine from South America in luxury boats from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. The drugs were then sold locally or smuggled into the U.S.
"There are other drug trafficking organizations but this is one of the biggest," Morton says.
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Photo, Loimere, flickr