Two passengers arrested when cocaine was found in their cabin on P&O cruise ship Aurora are facing up to four years in jail. Bar owner Tony Wilkinson, 42, from Auckland, New Zealand and his 25-year-old girlfriend Kirsty Harris pleaded guilty when they appeared in court this week.
The pair were held when US customs officers searched the ship in San Francisco in January. A haul of 7 kg of the drug was found in the cabin of Australian Ahmed Rachid, who then led officials to the New Zealand pair.
They tried to flush drug paraphernalia down the toilet before the door was burst open and 6 kg of the drug – with a street value of about £1.2 million – was found in a briefcase under their bed.
Gary Horne, of US Customs and Border Protection, told TVNZ News that this was the first drugs seizure on a cruise ship in San Francisco for several years.
Aurora, on its 2012 world cruise, was in the city overnight, after leaving Curacao and transiting the Panama Canal. Three weeks after the San Francisco raid, another passenger was arrested in Sydney, Australia, when he tried to go ashore with packages of cocaine hidden inside a wetsuit he was wearing under his clothes. A total of of 30 kg of the drug was found on his body and in his cabin.
►Two men who were seen having sex on a cruise ship berthed at the Caribbean island of Dominica were branded “rogues and vagabonds” by a magistrate who fined them £570 each. The pair, from Palm Springs, California, were among 2,000 passengers aboard Celebrity Summit for a gay cruise organised by Atlantis Events.
They told the court they “threw caution to the wind” after drinking too many cocktails. They were arrested after a witness on the dockside called police.
Sex between men is illegal on the island, and punishable by up to six months in prison.