The U.S. Department of Justice charged a former heavyweight boxer from Montenegro on Monday with trafficking 22 tonnes of cocaine worth more than $1 billion, the majority of which was found during one of the biggest cocaine seizures in American history.
After being charged by a grand jury in New York, Goran Gogic, 43, was detained on Sunday evening as he attempted to board an aircraft from Miami International Airport to Zurich.
Three counts of violating the federal Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act as well as one count of conspiracy were brought against Gogic by the prosecution. Each charge carries a required minimum jail sentence of 10 years and a potential life sentence.
According to his attorney, Gogic was jailed during a brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisette Reid in Miami. On November 7, there will be another detention hearing.
The accusations are related to the discovery of 19,930 kilogrammes (22 tonnes) of cocaine from three commercial cargo ships in 2019, including 17,956 kilogrammes (19.8 tonnes) from the MSC Gayane when it was berthed at Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.
According to the prosecution, the conspirators used American ports to carry cocaine from Colombia to Europe, employing cranes and nets at night to load drugs onto cargo ships from speedboats passing along the ships’ paths.
The complex operation required knowledge of each ship’s crew, route and location data, and that there was room to store drugs in shipping containers that were already aboard, prosecutors said.
In order to help himself and his Balkan-based gangs, Gogic managed the logistics, coordinating with the crew, Colombian traffickers, and European dockworkers.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in Brooklyn referred to Gogic’s capture and charge as “a spectacular success for law enforcement” in a statement.
Gogic’s attorney, Lawrence Hashish, said: “He was unprepared for these charges. He insists on his innocence and had travelled to the United States to attend a boxing event in Puerto Rico.”
At least eight members of the Gayane crew have admitted guilt in relation to conspiracy allegations.
Online records show that Gogic competed as a boxer from 2001 through 2012, winning 21 matches while losing four and drawing two more.
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Source: Daily Mail