The captain of a yacht is facing up to life in prison after admittedly smuggling more than 1,100 pounds of cocaine into South Florida on a luxury charter yacht called Secret Spot. The cocaine has a reported street value of $14.5 million.
According to an article in the Sun Sentinel, federal prosecutors filed court records indicating that they have evidence that Jonathon Costenbader was paid to import at least $20 million worth of cocaine during five trips between late June and October, when he was arrested. His girlfirend, Michelle Daniel, and another man, Steven Torello Davis, also pleaded guilty to related conspiracy charges.
Costenbader told agents that he captained the yacht to the Bahamas and back, picking up several bags of cocaine from a smaller vessel. 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 trip a month earlier.
The importation, selling, or distribution of unlawful controlled substances, including cocaine, is known as drug trafficking. Depending on the circumstances, drug trafficking can be classified as a state or federal crime. Convictions for drug trafficking in Florida carry severe penalties that include a minimum prison sentence.