Charter captain pleads guilty to cocaine smuggling

Posted on

A boat captain is facing up to life in prison after admitting that he smuggled more than 1,100 pounds of cocaine — with a street value of about $14.5 million — into South Florida on board a luxury charter yacht called Secret Spot.

Jonathon Costenbader, 34, of Palm Beach County, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to import cocaine in federal court in West Palm Beach, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Federal prosecutors filed court records indicating they have evidence that he was paid to import at least $20 million worth of the drug during five trips between late June and early October, when he was arrested.

Costenbader’s girlfriend, Michelle Daniel, 33, of Jupiter, Fla., and another man, Steven Torello Davis, 26, pleaded guilty to related conspiracy charges on Friday. The trio are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 21.

Federal agents seized cocaine with a street value conservatively estimated at $8 million on Oct. 6 when they arrested Costenbader and Daniel after the yacht docked at Palm Harbor Marina in West Palm Beach, court records show.

Costenbader told agents that he captained the 106-foot Lazzara to the Bahamas and back and picked up several bags of cocaine from a smaller vessel, according to court records. Agents said he told them he expected to be paid $705,000 for the last trip and was paid more than $500,000 for a similar venture a month earlier.

“He said there was still about $200,000 hidden at his residence, but that he spent the rest of the smuggling proceeds, mostly in gambling losses,” agents wrote, according to the paper.

Costenbader agreed to cooperate and deliver sham cocaine to his contact at a parking lot on Okeechobee Boulevard, east of I-95. Davis was arrested when he picked up the drugs. He told agents he had paid Costenbader $1.08 million for four prior deliveries since late June.

Welcome to TradeOnlyToday’s premium content! To continue reading, please register now, for access to 10 free stories per month. Or subscribe, for unlimited access to all TradeOnlyToday content!

Click here to Register ... it's free!

Basic subscription: Registered members get free access to 10 premium content stories each month!

Not a member yet? Click here to Register!

Already a member? Click here to Login!

Subscribe ... for unlimited access!

Individual subscription: $29 for unlimited site access for one year.

Small Business subscription: $140 for unlimited site access for up to 10 members of a company for one year.

Corporate subscription: $300 for unlimited site access for all members of a company for one year.

You may close this dialog after seconds.

Comments

2 comments on “Charter captain pleads guilty to cocaine smuggling

  1. Pilothouse King

    What a waste of several young lives, and a waste of taxpayers money to keep this retarded “war on drugs” going. If it wasn’t for the governments defacto price supports of keeping the prices so high, the prices of the drugs would be so low it wouldn’t be profitable enough to even produce, much less transport.
    Guess the law enforcement and prison industry needs the jobs, and it’s really another government welfare program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.

Vote Today

Did 2014 meet your sales expectations?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Search Boats for Sale

Length
Year
Price

Login to Trade Only Today

Lost Password