Elderly Cruise Passengers Claim They Were Tricked into Smuggling Cocaine

An elderly British couple arrested for possessing approximately 20 pounds of cocaine on a cruise ship in Lisbon, Portugal last December are now claiming they were tricked by a mysterious Jamaican businessman.

According to The Sun, 72-year-old Roger Clarke and his wife, 71-year-old Sue claim they were unaware of the the more than $1 million worth of drugs found inside of four suitcases in their cabin aboard the Marco Polo cruise ship, telling authorities that a Jamaican businessman only identified as Lee paid for their cruise, asked them to purchase exotic fruit and instructed them to pick up “empty” cases from a middleman in St. Lucia.

The couple’s claim doesn’t appear all that strong, however, as they were previously convicted of trafficking cannabis near Norway in 2010 and made contact with drug trafficking organizations multiple times from 2017 to 2018, according to police.

Authorities said that the Clarkes were only living off about $1,106 a month but spent approximately $22,500 on luxury cruises over a two-year period. What’s more, the couple’s diary said they had traveled to Brazil, Cuba and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

“It is understood this was in connection with the suspected possession of narcotics. Cruise and Maritime Voyages is cooperating fully with the Portuguese police officials,” a spokesman for British cruise line Cruise and Maritime Voyages told The Guardian in a statement last year, adding that the company “does not tolerate any criminal activity or anti-social behavior on board its ships.”

The couple was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

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