Cruise ship cleaner tells court of an alleged conspiracy to smuggle drugs

  • <B>Head down:</B> Ricardo Stewart, 32, from Jamaica leaves Supreme Court in custody.

    Head down: Ricardo Stewart, 32, from Jamaica leaves Supreme Court in custody.

A cruise ship cleaner told a jury how he wept when his role in a cocaine-smuggling plot aboard the vessel was uncovered.

Adrian Morris, a Jamaican father-of-two, was allegedly recruited by the ringleader of the conspiracy another Jamaican named Ricardo Stewart.

According to prosecutors, the illicit enterprise aimed to bring cocaine into Bermuda, and involved passengers and crew from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Explorer of the Seas.

It was discovered in June 2010 when workmen found a bag of cocaine that had been hidden by Mr Morris in the ship’s disco bar.

Mr Stewart, 32, a waiter on the vessel, went on trial yesterday accused of masterminding the conspiracy. Mr Morris gave evidence for the Crown in the case.

He told the jury he earned $565 per month for his legitimate work as a cleaner. However, Mr Stewart offered him $1,500 to move a bag of drugs around the ship.

“He told me a passenger would bring it on. All I had to do was take it and put it in a spot,” he explained.

When officials found out about the plot, Mr Morris, who has a wife in Jamaica, said: “Water started coming out of my eyes because I said ‘I’m going to prison now and I’ve got my two kids and I’ve got my family’.”

Opening the case, prosecutor Carrington Mahoney explained Mr Stewart had been working on the ship for at least three years prior to the incident on June 6 2010. The vessel had visited Bermuda several times each year.

Mr Morris started work in January 2010 and was told about the drug-smuggling operation by a colleague from St Vincent.

“They would smuggle drugs on the vessel by using passengers to bring on the drugs under wigs and garments and the crew would move the drugs from different cabins,” the prosecutor explained.

“It was brought to his [Morris’s] attention that the accused man was the ringleader of the whole thing; he and his girlfriend and other people were all involved.”

Mr Morris told the trial that he picked up the bag outside his cabin door and placed it under a seat in the disco bar on Mr Stewart’s instructions.

The ship was en route to Bermuda at the time.

According to Mr Mahoney: “All that was caught by the CCTV on board. Some workmen came; they were doing some repairs to the upholstery in that particular area of the bar. “They came upon this bag, found the drugs, contacted the authorities and an investigation started.”

The jury viewed CCTV images showing Mr Morris travelling around the ship with a bag, and the workmen finding it.

Mr Morris told how, when he saw security officials surrounding the bag, he informed Mr Stewart and his girlfriend it had been discovered.

He said Mr Stewart’s response was to hand him $1,500 from a bag containing “stacks of money” under his bed in order not to name him.

“He said ‘don’t call my name’ and the two of them would take care of my family,” alleged Mr Morris.

According to Mr Mahoney: “Eventually, Morris was taken into custody and Morris began to give the names of the other persons involved. He mentioned the accused man as the ringleader and the person who gave him instructions that the drugs was at the door and he was to collect it.”

Police arrested Mr Stewart, from Ocho Rios, Jamaica, when the ship arrived in Dockyard, Bermuda the following day.

According to Mr Mahoney, his cabin was searched and $4,900 cash was found in a box of detergent in the bathroom.

Mr Stewart denies conspiring with Mr Morris and others not before the courts to import cocaine, and the case continues.

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