Cruise Bruise Investigates March 8, 2015
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Cruise Bruise Investigates March 8, 2015
6 Crew Members and 2 Accomplices Arrested
They disembarked the cruise ship with more than five kilos of cocaine, smuggled off the cruise ship strapped to their bodies. Acting suspiciously upon disembarking, the men were followed by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) special agents.
Teffan Shem Delice, Johnson Dwain Cherubin and Arkine John had picked up the cocaine in Roatan, Honduras on March 3, 2015 and were given a cell phone number for a woman named "Princess". The men and their accomplices were to deliver the cocaine to "Princess" once they arrived in Tampa, Florida. Upon return to Roatan, cash was supposed to be paid to the person who gave the three Norwegian Sun crew members the cocaine in Roatan.
Once off the cruise ship, they met with two women, Simone Natoya Walters and Semarie Gail Ann Paul who received the cocaine and paid the crew members to mule the drug from Roatan, Honduras to Tampa, Florida for further distribution throughout the United States.
The total amount of cash seized by federal agents from all seven conspirators was $53,369 in U.S. currency. The bulk of the money seized was from Jason Leon Carmichael who had $32,757.
Simone Walters and Semarie Gail Ann Paul arrived at Hooters after a call was placed to "Princess" on her cell phone by Johnson Dwain Cherubin once the crew had disembarked the cruise ship at Tampa and were on the dock at Channelside.
Then, Jason Leon Carmichael, Desrick Devon Gordon, Arkine John and Alfred Kernel Elvis Ince walked over to a Channelside public restroom, removed the cocaine from their bodies and placed the cocaine packages into a backpack. The men then walked the half mile from the cruise terminal to The Original Hooters at Channelside Bay Plaza at 615 Channelside Drive.
Simone Walters and Semarie Gail Ann Paul arrived in a 2013 silver Hyundai Tucson with Georgia license plates at Hooters. Semarie Gail Ann Paul was driving the car with Simone Walters was in the passenger seat. The women picked up Jason Leon Carmichael, Johnson Cherubin and Teffan Delice at the Hooters.
The two women left Desrick Devon Gordon, Arkine John and Alfred Kernel Elvis Ince behind at Hooters. They drove the other three crew members to the Residence Inn located on West Boy Scout Road in Tampa, Florida.
Inside a hotel room, the cocaine in the backpack was delivered to Simone Walters and Semarie Gail Ann Paul. Johnson Dwain Cherubin went into the hotel room bathroom to remove the cocaine he was still hiding in his underwear. Simone Walters received the ten packages of cocaine and Semarie Gail Ann Paul paid the crew members in cash.
Simone Walters and the three crew members went back out to Semarie Gail Ann Paul's car and a couple minutes later Semarie Gail Ann Paul joined the group and transported the crew members back to the Channelside area. The two women then drove back to the Residence Inn and left again after loading two suitcases into the trunk of their vehicle.
The vehicle was followed for thirty-five minutes by law enforcement, including Pasco County Sheriff officers. After being observed doing a "traffic violation", the vehicle was stopped. With the two women acting "nervous" and K-9 drug sniffing dog "Missy" was brought to the scene. Missy alerted to the cocaine. An onsite test of the substance confirmed cocaine.
During a police interview at the scene, Simone Walters gave up Semarie Gail Ann Paul as the person who paid the crew members the cash after delivery of the cocaine at the Residence Inn. Paul was found in possession of $7,700.00.
As crew members Jason Leon Carmichael, Arkine John, Alfred Kernel Elvis Ince and Teffan Shem Delice entered the Norwegian Sun security check point they were arrested by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) special agents.
Jason Leon Carmichael was found to be in possession of $32,757.00; Arkine John was found in possession of $8,811.00;, Johnson Cherubin was found in possession of $3,000; Teffan Delice was found in possession of $2,172.40; Alfred Kernel Ince was found in possession of $1,751.50.
Jason Leon Carmichael confessed Alfred Kernel Elvis Ince was paid $2000 to be the lookout for the group. Later, Cherubin was found in possession of $177.25. A search of his crew cabin revealed Arkine John had $6000 hidden his cabin aboard Norwegian Sun.
They were all also found with Western Union receipts for cash transfers. The transfers had taken place at Walmart after the men were paid, dropped off at the Channelside area and took a taxi to Walmart.
A later revelation by investigators that a security camera near the restroom might have video footage of the men going into the public restroom proved fruitful. A check of video security footage showed the group of crew members including Jason Leon Carmichael, Alfred Kernel Ince, Arkine John and another unknown male enter the restroom to remove the cocaine strapped to their bodies for placement into the duffle bag. It was this video footage that investigators say tied Desrick Devon Gordon to the drug smuggling operation.
In the indictment investigators outline how Co-defendant 1 and 2 had to look at photographs of crew members on record with Norwegian Sun to pick out who the unknown person seen on the Channelside security video might be.
Desrick Devon Gordon wasn't arrested along with the other five crew members and two women on March 8, 2015. He no doubt thought he had gotten away with his crime. On March 31, 2015, Co-defendant 1 identified Desrick Devon Gordon from his photograph as the person who handed the cocaine to him after Desrick Devon Gordon removed it from his inside his underwear.
On April 22, 2015, prosecution cooperating Co-defendant 2 identified Desrick Devon Gordon from his photograph as the person who handed Co-defendant 1 the cocaine and also handed Co-defendant 1 his underwear and spandex shorts to be placed in the backpack along with the cocaine. This act, Desrick Devon Gordon thought would clear him of any connection to the cocaine, removing scent and residue which might alert security when he embarked Norwegian Sun again.
Desrick Devon Gordon decided to not take the money, run and consider himself lucky. He could have disappeared at the next port for Norwegian Sun, traveled to any place other than United States and went on with his life. He didn't.
On June 18, 2015, an arrest warrant was written for Desrick Devon Gordon. Desrick Devon Gordon flew from Vancouver British Columbia, Canada to New York, arriving on Delta flight #1723 at JFK airport on June 23, 2015. He was arrested after being visually identified first by a photograph on record with Norwegian Sun, then by his passport in his possession.
Desrick Devon Gordon was paid $2000 to smuggle the cocaine off the cruise ship and remove it from his body at the public restroom. He is the only smuggler in the group who didn't plead innocent, then change the plea to guilty during plea agreements. The plea agreements included the stipulation that a second charge, count two for "possession of cocaine with intent to distribute five kilograms or more" would be dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to count one ,"conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute".
Instead, Desrick Devon Gordon incorrectly believed there was no evidence tying him to his crimes. Confident in the lack of evidence, Desrick Devon Gordon chose to have a jury trial. The video footage from the Channelside dock area convinced the jury to convict.
On December 16, 2015, Desrick Devon Gordon was convicted by the jury on two counts. Count one was for "conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute" and count two was for "possession of cocaine with intent to distribute five kilograms or more". He will be sentenced in March 2016 and faces ten years to life in prison and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
Desrick Gordon is from from Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. His last Facebook post before his arrest was on April 12, 2015. His profile said he was employed by Norwegian Cruise Line, married to Kathyesha Garraway and has two children.
His wife Kathyesha posted on Facebook on June 30, 2015 "I miss u boo but I will always be here for u am going to ride and die with u people may say what they want but ur my joy and happiest each and everyday my love for u will never failed I love u with all my heart and death will do us apart." Jason Carmichael was connected to Gordon through Facebook.
On March 24, 2013, The Global Circle of Peace posted on Facebook a photo of Desrick Gordon, labeling him "PAX Representative Desrick Gordon". The non-profit Global Circle of Peace is an organic, grass roots, creative movement for peace. It was launched on September 21, 2009.
Desrick Devon Gordon co-conspirators also face ten years to life in prison and up to a $10,000,000 fine when they are sentenced in January 2016, with the exception of Simone Walters. Simone Walters cut a deal with prosecutors to assist their investigation and prosecution of her co-conspirators in return for a reduced sentence.
Simone Walters' plea agreement gave her a sentence in federal prison of 24 months, with credit for time served and stated she was not to be housed in a Florida federal prison. The Prosecution suggested she be imprisoned in Morgantown, West Virginia. Instead, she is serving her time in Aliceville, Alabama. Simone Walters's release date is December 3, 2016. She will be required to have supervised release for 6o months and submit to drug testing as a condition of her release.
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