Cruise Crime: Three Crew Drug Arrests and a Closed Passenger Overboard Investigation

Today, two stories broke about cruise ship crimes issues. The first story involved three Royal Caribbean crew members arrested for trying to smuggle drugs into Baltimore from the Dominican Republic via Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship. We have written a lot about passengers and crew members using cruise ships to smuggle drugs. Earlier this year, passengers were busted for smuggling drugs on the Enchantment of the Seas. Just last October, U.S. Customs officers seized cocaine and heroin aboard another Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Serenade of the Seas, when the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. According to the Baltimore Sun, the latest drug deal involved three Royal Caribbean crew members – 35-year-old Gavin Excell and 27-year-olds John Swart Garth and Kishurn Neptune – who picked up heroin and cocaine in the Dominican Republic during a stop of the Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. Law enforcement arrested them after they delivered the drugs to a Walmart after the cruise ship reached Baltimore. The crew members are identified as working in the galley of the cruise ship. The second story involved the FBI announcing that they have closed the investigation into the disappearance of cruise passenger Jennifer Ellis-Seitz, age 36. Ms. Ellis-Seitz went overboard from Norwegian Cruise Line's Pearl on Christmas Day in 2008. Two years ago Ms. Ellis-Seitz had cruised on a seven-day trip aboard the NCL cruise ship to celebrate her first wedding anniversary with her husband, Raymond Seitz Jr., Her mother also cruised with them. By the time her husband reported her missing, there was an 8 hour delay. The Sun Sentinel newspaper reports that NCL searched the cruise ship for three hours before calling the U.S. Coast Guard. A subsequent review of the cruise ship's surveillance video revealed her going overboard from the balcony of the couple's cabin. There were many accounts in the media of suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance, including the NBC Today show carrying a story "Missing Woman's Husband Acted Odd, Passengers Say." The FBI was photographed inspecting the balcony where Ms. Ellis-Seitz went overboard. But like most suspicious disappearances, the FBI investigation went nowhere. The newspaper indicates that the FBI concluded its investigation with "insufficient evidence to prove any crime was committed," according to FBI agent Michael Leverock.

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