|Photo: Free Republic|
|Homeland Security and ICE agents found more than two tons of Jamaican pot aboard the sailboat.|
An in-law of Hardball host Chris Matthews has been charged with running a major marijuana smuggling operation which brought pot to the U.S. from Jamaica.
Local police say that the trail from a pot bust — which they claim was worth $8.1 million — leads to Dartmouth, Massachusetts and James Ormonde Staveley-O’Carroll, a shipbuilder whose daughter, Sarah, is married to Michael Matthews, son of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
Six weeks ago when federal agents intercepted the 79-foot sailboat Sarah Moira coming from Jamaica, they seized the boat’s cargo of 4,497 pounds of marijuana, and arrested the captain and crew, reports Curt Brown at the Cape Cod Times.
Staveley-O’Carroll (Both a hyphen and an apostrophe? Damn, why couldn’t I have a name that “rich” sounding?) is the owner of the Sarah Moira, the steel-hulled sailboat which a task force of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement goons intercepted on November 21 off the coast of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
The boat was taken to the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Gulfport, Miss., where drug-sniffing dogs found two wooden crates filled with individually wrapped packages of marijuana in a forward compartment, according to a federal affidavit.
Staveley-O’Carroll and crew members/co-defendants J. Boone Ferrie, 20, and Brian Parker, 27, both of Attleboro, Mass., are charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and importation of marijuana with intent to distribute.
The three are scheduled to go on trial February 14 in U.S. District Court in Gulfport before Judge Louis Guirola Jr., following their indictments on December 7, according to Sheila Wilbanks of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Mississippi.
Ferrie and Parker were each released on $25,000 bond while Staveley-O’Carroll is still in jail in Mississippi, according to Wilbanks.
The investigation started more than a year ago, according to Dartmouth police, when ICE agents contacted Lt. Robert Szala because Staveley-O’Carroll lived in Dartmouth. Szala said he worked with federal agents, collecting information and searching records about Staveley-O’Carroll at Town Hall.
While federal agents were searching the sailboat, Dartmouth police executed a search warrant on Staveley-O’Carroll’s large farmhouse and detched garage at 196 Division Road in Dartmouth, near the Westport line.
|Dartmouth Police Chief Timothy M. Lee: “Even if you’re a big dealer, we’re going to get you”|
”Evidence was collected” during that search, according to Officer Scott Brooks II, who prepared the search warrant along with Police Chief Timothy M. Lee and Szala.
Officer Brooks said the search warrant is sealed and would not disclose details of what was searched or what was seized.
The interception is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security agents and is the result of information provided by a “confidential informant” that the Sarah Moira was smuggling about two tons of marijuana from Jamaica to the United States.
Ferrie and Parker freaked out and sang like birds, telling federal investigators they were hired by Staveley-O’Carroll to prepare the boat for the trip to Jamaica and pick up a load of marijuana. They said they left Jacksonville, Florida on November 7 and arrived about two miles off the coast of Jamaica on November 14, according to the affidavit.
They told investigators that two small boats arrived at their vessel carrying bags filled with marijuana and they loaded the pot on the vessel and set sail for the U.S.
“Even if you’re a big dealer, we’re going to get you,” bragged Dartmouth Police Chief Timothy M. Lee, who talks mighty tough when he has Homeland Security to hide behind. “If you are dealing drugs in Dartmouth, we will find out about it and we will arrest you.”