P&O’s Aurora in £1m drug bust

//P&O’s Aurora in £1m drug bust

American law enforcement agencies announced today that they seized 13 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of more than £1 million from a cruise ship docked in San Francisco last month, according to a report in SF Weekly.
According to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a joint operation among federal agencies and local law-enforcement led to two separate discoveries of a large amount of the drug on a cruise liner at Pier 35 on January 25.
The CBP spokesman said a routine search was carried out, in accordance with the agency’s practice for all vessels arriving from foreign countries. He added that the ship’s name would not be disclosed. However, the cruise-ship berthing schedule shows that the ship docked at Pier 35 on that day was P&O’s Aurora.
The ship, on its 2012 world cruise, was in the city overnight, after leaving Curacao and transiting the Panama Canal. After leaving San Francisco it sailed to Honolulu, and is now in New Zealand.
Federal agents are reported to have discovered seven kilos of cocaine in the cabin of Ahmed Rachid, an Australian citizen. More than five kilos were discovered in another cabin, occupied by New Zealand citizens Tony Wilkinson and Kirstie Harris. All three were arrested.
The CBP’s Gary Horne said that during a “normal” interview with Rachid, officers detected an anomaly, which prompted a search of his cabin.
“We talk to them. We ask them where they’re from and what they’re bringing in.” As a result of the interview, his cabin was searched and a case was found, containing a white powder which tested positive for cocaine.
The search of another cabin found led to the discovery of a briefcase containing cocaine under the bed. Customs inspectors won’t say if the two discoveries are related.
A P&O spokesman at the company’s Southampton HQ said: “There is an ongoing investigation and we are not at liberty to discuss this further.”.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:54+00:00 14 February 2012|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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