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Massachusetts man sentenced for conspiracy to distribute 4,497 pounds marijuana

GULFPORT, Miss. — A Massachusetts man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 13 years in prison, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Gulf Coast Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (GC BEST).

James Staveley-O'Carroll, 60, of Attleboro, Mass., was arrested Nov. 21, 2010, aboard his motor vessel "Sarah Moira," an 80-foot steel hulled sailboat, after GC BEST members intercepted the vessel and discovered 4,497 pounds of marijuana on board. The vessel's crewmembers, also residents of Attleboro, were sentenced Aug. 24, 2011. J. Boone Ferri, 21, was sentenced to serve 31 months in prison and five years supervised release; Brian Parker, 29, was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison and five years supervised release.

"This sentencing serves as a warning to anyone who would attempt to smuggle controlled substances and other contraband into our country via our coastal borders. This case demonstrates the effectiveness of our multi-agency Border Enforcement Security Taskforces. By leveraging the combined investigative expertise of our domestic and international partners, we are able to fully and effectively address criminal activity that could undermine and threaten our ports of entry," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans. Parmer oversees a five-state area which includes Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

This case involved outstanding collaborative efforts of BEST members including HSI (G C and Southeast Coastal BEST); U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air & Marine Operations; CBP Office of Border Patrol; CBP Office of Field Operations; U.S. Coast Guard and Harrison County (Miss.) Sheriff's Office.

In response to the dramatic surge in cross-border crime and violence, due to intense competition between Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal smuggling organizations, HSI has partnered with federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement counterparts to create a series of multi-agency teams (BEST) developed to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations posing significant threats to border security. Currently, there are 30 BESTs with locations around the U.S. and in Mexico, including the GC BEST, which reports to the HSI special agent in charge in New Orleans.

"Dope dealers and smugglers will use various means to get their corrosive product into this country, but we will use every available tool and our state and local partners to intercept their dope," said U.S. Attorney John Dowdy. "The sentence handed down today should once again serve as a reminder that if you are going to do the crime, you better be prepared to do the time."

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie, Southern District of Mississippi.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.