Detectives staking out a cargo ship along the Miami River hit pay dirt when they uncovered 47 kilos of cocaine and took three people into custody.
Working on a tip, Miami-Dade narcotics detectives working with special agents from Homeland Security, were watching just after midnight Saturday when three men began unloading buckets from the 160-foot Lady Philomena while it was docked at the Miami Shipping Terminal along the Miami River.
Police said they observed one of the men get off the ship, go to a warehouse and return with five one-gallon buckets. The man then went down to the cargo hold and emerged with the buckets before handing them to another man, police said.
Eventually the buckets were taken off the ship through an opening in the hull of the vessel, police said. By 8:30 a.m., police had three men in custody. The men didn’t put up a fight.
Franz Mompremier, 42, Emanuel Reginald, 29 and Jihmy Jean-Pierre, 32, were arrested and charged with trafficking in illegal drugs. The trio hails from Haiti.
The case will be prosecuted in circuit court by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Prosecutor Jessica Caso-Pedraja convinced the judge to hold the men on $700,000 bond.
While large drug busts on the water aren’t all that rare in South Florida, it’s usually the U.S. Coast Guard that is involved. In 2014 a dozen people were arrested and the Coast Guard intercepted 2,800 kilos of cocaine off of Colombia and Panama.