FOUR ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH DRUG SMUGGLING AND CONSPIRACY
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District, Randy Donnelson, Director of Air Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announced the October 21, 2010 arrest of defendants Francis Joseph Ferris, 49, of Miami Beach, Charles Dion Francis, 32, a Bahamian national, Brian Richard Martin, 36, of Coral Springs, and Ramiko Jermaine Moncur, 32, of Opa-Locka, on federal drug-smuggling and drug-conspiracy charges. The arrest and criminal complaint are the result of a multi-agency operation.
Earlier today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton ordered defendants Francis and Moncur detained pending trial. A separate pre-trial detention hearing is scheduled for defendants Martin and Ferris for Friday, October 29, 2010.
According to the criminal complaint, on Thursday, October 21, 2010, CBP agents onboard a surveillance aircraft conducting a maritime patrol detected a suspicious vessel and alerted the U.S. Coast Guard to the location of the boat. Subsequently, the Coast Guard encountered a 45-foot power vessel, operated by Francis Joseph Ferris, approximately two nautical miles east of Miami, heading towards land. Coast Guard officers from Station Miami Beach boarded the vessel and discovered 21 bales containing approximately 800 pounds of marijuana in the forward cabin.
The complaint alleges that after the marijuana was seized, ICE special agents and task force officers arranged for a controlled delivery of the marijuana to Ferris’s co-conspirators. Defendants Charles Dion Francis, Brian Richard Martin, and Ramiko Jermaine Moncur were arrested by ICE agents when they arrived at a pre-arranged location to take possession of the marijuana.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Miami, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Miami-Dade Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dwayne E. Williams.
A complaint is only an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.