Agents say women smuggled cocaine in bras, girdles while on cruise ship

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PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Four women were arrested on charges of smuggling cocaine inside their bras and girdles after arriving in Port Canaveral from a cruise, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Lakisha Abney, Shawnta Aiken, Ciera Bryant and Shenique Milbourne departed on a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, on May 8. When the ship arrived at Port Canaveral on May 15, Bryant was found with five vacuum-sealed packages of cocaine in her bra and girdle, agents said.

Officials said they decided to pat her down after asking Bryant, who was wearing a loose-fitting muumuu, whether she was traveling alone. Bryant said she was traveling with three others, who officials noted were similarly dressed. The officials also said Bryant's voice and hands were shaking, and she was not making eye contact.

Related story: Royal Caribbean crew members accused of smuggling cocaine in sandals

Agents found Abney, Aiken and Milbourne, and escorted them into a baggage inspection area where officials conducted a pat-down and found several vacuum-sealed packages containing cocaine in each of the women’s bras and girdles.

The four women are from the Washington, D.C. and Maryland area.

According to an arrest affidavit, a man whom Milbourne knew offered her an opportunity for a free cruise with other women, which she accepted. Milbourne said she was under the impression that it was just a “girl’s trip.”

Milbourne was told to send her information to Abney to book the cruise. Milbourne claimed she knew Aiken but did not know Abney or Bryant.  

Abney’s sister drove the women to the airport and gave Milbourne $700 for spending, the affidavit said.

The cruise departed from Port Canaveral and stopped at ports of call, including: Labadee, Haiti, Flamouth, Jamaica, George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico.

While in Jamaica, the women met a man who gave them the cocaine and the bras and girdles in which to hide the drugs, the report said.

Abney said a friend of hers booked the cruise, but she did not remember the person’s name.   

Aiken said she thought she was going on vacation and was told that she was going to be wearing a “gift” upon her return.

Bryant claimed that Abney asked her $2,000 to go on a cruise and bring back a “small gift.”

Milbourne said she did not sign up to be involved with drugs and did not know that she was going to be a “mule” until they were out at sea.

Agents said the total weight of cocaine found on the women was 6.668 kilograms.

The women were charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance into the United States.