Cruise passengers discovered with 70kg of Cannabis on ship, court filings allege
Two guests aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship have been discovered with more than 100 bags of marijuana.
The passengers aboard Norwegian Joy allegedly had about 71.9kg of cannabis as they were preparing to depart Miami for Southampton in the UK on January 11.
The couple, named as Michael Quesenberry and Savannah Rose Minami in a criminal complaint submitted to the Southern District of Florida, were found with several vacuum-packed bags of the drug.
Quesenberry was discovered by port security with 56 bags of a “leafy substance”, which later tested positive as cannabis. The passenger “claimed that this marijuana was for personal use and that he had a medical marijuana card back in California”, reads the affidavit signed by Homeland Security special agent Joseph Angarone.
Although the drug is legal in 38 US states in varying degrees, possession, use and sale of cannabis remains illegal in Florida. It is definitely illegal to attempt to bring the controlled substance on an international cruise.
The other offender, Minami, initially claimed not to know Quesenberry and she was allowed to board the ship.
It was only after the discovery of the drugs in Quesenberry’s luggage that Homeland Security officers were permitted on the ship to find Minami and search her luggage.
The woman was found at a bar on board, according to Angarone, and a search of her luggage produced a further 56 bags of cannabis.
In the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, he said his experience was that tourist routes were being exploited for moving the substance as “drug traffickers are increasingly turning to exportation of marijuana from the United States to England, due to the higher price of marijuana in England”.
Both guests were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Norwegian Cruise Line has an extensive list of prohibited items that bans even medically prescribed cannabis and “all products containing CBD, oils, candies, and gummies or any product containing THC”.
“The safety and security of our guests is, as always, our top priority,” a statement from the cruise line to USA Today said.
“As such, Norwegian Cruise Line reserves the right to confiscate any items on the prohibited items list, and may notify authorities when necessary.”
Although states vary in their laws on possession, it remains illegal to take marijuana on a cruise ship in the US because these are regulated at a federal level.