Man sentenced to 20 years for importing heroin aboard cruise ship

March 07, 2012|By Peter Hermann

The ringleader of a heroin ring that imported drugs into Baltimore aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Enchantment of the Seas has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

Loxly Johnson, 49, of Norfolk, Va., was the final suspect to be imprisoned in the conspiracy that brought international drug trafficking to the shores of Baltimore. He was convicted after a four-day trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

A Norfolk woman was sentenced to a year, and three men from Jamaica, Nicaragua and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were sentenced to time served awaiting trial, according to the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said the suspects picked up cocaine and heroin from the Dominican Republic. A security officer gave them up, and officers with U.S. Customs set up an inspection when the ship disembarked in Baltimore on Dec. 18, 2010.

One of the men had heroin wrapped in silver duct tape in his pants, and two similar packages in his shoes, federal prosecutors said. That man was told to call a drug source and set up a meeting in the parking lot of a Walmart in South Baltimore's Port Covington. Authorities said they watched the transaction and made arrests.

The Enchantment of the Seas started operating in Baltimore i the summer of 2009 and features six whirpools, a rock-climbing wall and solarium. The ship holds 2,252 guests. Two of the suspects worked in the ship's galley, largely out of view of passengers.

Three weeks after the bust, customs officials said they found another drug stash aboard the same ship -- $94,000 worth of heroin and cocaine hidden in an employee locker. The ship had just returned from a 12-night trip to ports in the Caribbean, including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands.

No arrests were made in that case.


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