Crime

Oceania cruise crewman smuggled cocaine in his pants and sandals, feds say

Oceania Cruises’ Riviera launched in 2012.
Oceania Cruises’ Riviera launched in 2012.

Federal agents noticed something was weird with the way a crew member walked off Oceania Cruises’ Riviera cruise ship at the Port of Miami the day after New Year’s Day.

Wilford Thobourne had a “stiff gait as he walked on the dock” that was likely caused by the more than a pound and a half of cocaine he stashed in his groin area and the five pairs of shorts and underwear he had on underneath his jeans meant to conceal the contraband, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Adam Jefferson wrote in his Jan. 3 arrest report.

Thobourne, 31, also had another nearly two pounds of cocaine hidden in the soles of his sandals that agents found when they searched him around 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 2, according to Jefferson’s report.

The Riviera had just returned from various locations in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, St. Bart’s, St. Lucia and the Grenadines, according to court records.

It’s not clear what Thobourne’s job was on the Riviera, how long he’s been with Oceania or if he’s still employed with the company. Oceania did not immediately respond to questions regarding Thobourne’s employment status.

Thobourne is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Miami Wednesday for a 10 a.m. detention hearing. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 17 in Miami.

Thobourne’s arrest comes two months after seven MSC Cruises crew members were arrested on smuggling charges. They are accused of bringing in a total of 17 pounds of cocaine into the Port of Miami from Jamaica aboard the MSC Seaside.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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