The last of seven longshoremen convicted of smuggling more than 80 kilos of cocaine through the Port of Miami was dealt the longest sentence of them all.
On Monday, Clinton Coleman Jr., 47, the only defendant who tried his luck at trial and lost, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas.
The other six South Florida defendants — including Tyrone Jackson, 54, of Miami; Ronald Chestnut, 44, of Hallandale Beach; and Jimmie Alexander Jr., 67, of Opa-locka — pleaded guilty and received sentences ranging from time served to 9 1/2 years.
The main participants, members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, diverted the drugs from cargo ships arriving at the port in November 2013, according to prosecutor Marton Gyires. Customs and Border Protection agents seized 22 and 59 kilos of cocaine hidden in containers during two shipments that month.
The Homeland Security Investigations case, dubbed Operation Pier Pressure, was made through a confidential source at the port who recorded conversations with the seven longshoremen. They were arrested last August, after a two-year investigation.
Authorities say the port is still an active hub for traditional drug smuggling from South America.