BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Two Royal Caribbean cruise employees were arrested after they were accused of using sandals to smuggle drugs into Central Florida.
Two employees on the Freedom of the Seas ship were bringing cocaine into Port Canaveral, authorities said.
Investigators said they found out last year that one of the crew members was a courier for at least one drug trafficking organization.%
Authorities started following him as he left the port and saw him and another man smuggling the cocaine using sandals.
Junior Ellision, 31, was arrested aboard the ship as he was walking away with cocaine, authorities said.
"It's surprising especially in today's environment, you know, since 9/11, we've stepped up this security," said Brevard County resident Donnie Paris.
Investigators said they started following Ellision last November from the ship, and each time Ellision left the ship, he took a shuttle to a Merritt Island Walmart.
Authorities said Ellision would pick up sandals filled with cocaine in St. Maarten and would wear them off the ship.
Ellision would then go to the Walmart, buy a pair of sandals, and then put the cocaine filled sandals in the Walmart bag to deliver to someone else, authorities said.
Investigators said Ellision didn’t work alone.
Another Freedom of the Seas crew member, Sheldon Grant, was also arrested.
"I think that's a pretty good scheme, you know, a pretty good way to smuggle stuff in," said Paris.
Authorities said the men admitted they had made multiple deliveries and that someone paid them $1,250 each time they delivered the sandals.
Grant and Ellision were charged with importing a controlled substance into the United States.
The pair are in federal custody without bail.
© 2020 Cox Media Group