A Friday afternoon Coast Guard search of a 42-foot fishing boat 25 miles east of Fort Pierce led to the arrest of two men and the seizure of more than $16.4 million worth of powdered cocaine, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
Participating in the case were the U.S. Coast Guard (from the Fort Pierce station), Department of Homeland Security inspectors and agents, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Mascara said.
Investigators seized 164 kilograms of cocaine inside five suitcases on the vessel called “Gypsy.”
“I am committed to fighting drug smuggling from the street level to the major suppliers,” Sheriff Mascara said. “Theese arrests and drug seizure will keep millions of dollars of illegal drugs out of the hands of drug dealers and off the streets of St. Lucie County. Theses arrests are the latest examples of ongoing, close cooperation among law enforcement agencies on the Treasure Coast at all levels of government,” Sheriff Mascara said.
He described the cocaine seizure as the largest in at least the past 15 years in St. Lucie County.
Arrested by the Sheriff's Office on charges of trafficking more than 400 grams of cocaine were Tristan Seymour, 22, of Freeport Bahamas, and Quincy Garvey, 41, address unknown.
They are being held without bond at the St. Lucie County jail, Fort Pierce with federal charges pending by the Fort Pierce office of the U.S. Attorney.
The sport fishing boat was headed to the U.S. from Grand Bahama Island, Sheriff Mascara said.
Coast Guardsmen routinely board and inspect vessels as they did with the sport fishing boat. They became suspicious and searched the boat after talking with Garvey and Seymour, who were not the owners of the boat.
Coast Guardsmen towed the boat ashore to the Cracker Boy Boat Works in Fort Pierce, where they conferred with DEA and Customs agents. Sheriff’s Office K-9 Deputy Gerry Graff, and his police service dog Miranda (a female golden retriever) searched the boat and its contents, Sheriff Mascara said.
Miranda alerted to the presence of drugs in the suitcases, which contained 164 kilograms of cocaine.
In interviews with investigators, Seymour and Garvey said they were paid to transport the cocaine to Florida.