MIAMI - Francis Joseph Ferris, 49, of Miami Beach, Fla.; Charles Dion Francis, 32, a Bahamian national; Brian Richard Martin, 36, of Coral Springs, Fla.; and Ramiko Jermaine Moncur, 32, of Opa-Locka, Fla., were arrested on Oct. 21 on federal drug smuggling and drug conspiracy charges following a joint investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Miami-Date Police Department investigation.
Earlier today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton ordered defendants Francis and Moncur detained pending trial. A separate pre-trial detention hearing is scheduled for defendants Martin and Ferris for Oct. 29.
According to the criminal complaint, on Thursday, Oct. 21, CBP agents onboard a surveillance aircraft conducting a maritime patrol detected a suspicious vessel and alerted the U.S. Coast Guard to the location of the boat.
Subsequently, the U.S. Coast Guard encountered a 45-foot power vessel, operated by Francis Joseph Ferris, approximately two nautical miles east of Miami, heading towards land.
U.S. Coast Guard officers from Station Miami Beach boarded the vessel and discovered 21 bales containing approximately 800 pounds of marijuana in the forward cabin.
The complaint alleges that after the marijuana was seized, ICE HSI special agents and task force officers arranged for a controlled delivery of the marijuana to Ferris's co-conspirators.
Defendants Charles Dion Francis, Brian Richard Martin, and Ramiko Jermaine Moncur were arrested by ICE HSI agents when they arrived at a pre-arranged location to take possession of the marijuana.