Norwegian Dawn Cocaine Arrests
Four New Orleans Cruise Ship Crew Members Arrested
Cruise Bruise Investigates January 3, 2016
4 Crew Members and 1 Accomplice Arrested
On Sunday, January 3, 2016, Asbert Lowmans, Jean Louis, Esias Felicien, Kevin John and Jamaican Alfred Dennison (known as “uncle”) were arrested in a Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Dawn drug sting which included the seizure of 4.75 kilograms of cocaine by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the cruise ship terminal in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Norwegian Dawn had just arrived at New Orleans, after conducting a Caribbean cruise with the last port call at Roatan Honduras. This is the same type of cocaine smuggling operation which ended in Tampa, Florida
DSH agents observed three crew member, Asbert Lowmans, Jean Louis and Esias Felicien enter a restroom at the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, the shopping mall adjacent to the cruise ship terminal. Once inside the restroom, the men did the most common crew member drug smuggling habit of removing their shoes and clothing, to remove the scent of the drugs from their belongings. The items are then placed in backpack with the smuggled drugs for disposal.
As with other drug seizures, the cocaine drug mules smuggled the drugs in their underwear. DHS agents staking out the restroom, observed two of the three crew members remove their pants and shoes while inside a restroom stall, as seen from the opening below the door of the stall. The cocaine was removed from their underwear and placed it into the pack.
Asbert Lowmans, Jean Louis were stopped by agents immediately outside the restroom and Esias Felicien who had left the restroom first with the pack was stopped by agents as he walking down the hall of the Riverwalk. He met up with Kevin John who also under surveillance by agents.
The two men continued walking through the food court where more DHS agents joined the surveillance. The two men split up and were each tailed by a team of a DHS agents and ultimately were stopped and searched.
Esias Felicien’s pack was searched by DHS agents and found to contain six packages wrapped in packing tape. Agents suspected the packages contained either heroin or cocaine, as this is a popular drug smuggling packaging technique. Esias Felicien was also was found to have one package still in his underwear. The cocaine package was sewn into the crotch of his underwear. When Esias Felicien was arrested, he had a shopping bag containing a “used smugglers’ girdle,”
Jamaican Alfred Dennison was waiting for the cocaine delivery at SpringHill Suites hotel room 120 on St. Joseph Street in New Orleans, which is located less than half a mile from the Julia Street Cruise Terminal on the Mississippi River and two blocks from the Morial Convention Center.
Asbert Lowmans and Jean Louis, admitted to smuggling the cocaine when they were arrested and Asbert Lowmans cut a deal with DHS agent Agent Timothy Subervielle to cooperate in the investigation. Asbert Lowmans delivered the pack to Alfred Dennison, which was supposed to contain the cocaine, but instead had a jacket stuffed inside.
When Alfred Dennison opened the hotel room door, he was rushed by a team of DHS agents. Hidden on his person was $19,000 to be split among the crew members.
The five men were charged with felony conspiracy to import 500 or more grams of cocaine hydrochloride. All five were transported to the St. Bernard Parish Jail in Chalmette, Louisiana, which is located 8.5 miles east of the Julia Street Cruise Terminal. The jail is southeast of Lake Pontchartrain.
Unlike the Tampa cruise ship cocaine bust, because the smuggled drugs were less than 5 kilograms, the men will not face a prison sentence of ten years each with a maximum fine of up to $10,000,000. Transporting a drug cache just short of the five kilograms amount may be a strategy being used by smugglers to shorten their prison sentences if caught. The sentencing guidelines for 500 grams or more of cocaine is half of the 5 kilograms or more sentence, only five years.
But, as in the Tampa case, one person who aided the investigation will probably get a deal, by testifying against the others, which will be in a federal prison where the co-conspirators are not serving their time.
Norwegian Dawn embarks on Sundays at 1600 hours from New Orleans, then calls at Cozumel, Mexico before calling at Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Costa Maya, Mexico. The cruise ship then returns to New Orleans, arriving at 0800 hours on Sundays.
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Cruise Ship Drugs 2016 Arrests