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Multi-agency effort nets 2,000 pounds of marijuana and 9 kilos of cocaine

MIAMI - Two Bahamian men who stuffed 2,000 pounds of marijuana and nine kilograms of cocaine into their vessel's cabin area in an attempt to illegally smuggle the contraband were arrested here by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents on Jan. 18, 2008 following a multi-agency law enforcement effort.

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Rear Admiral David W. Kunkel, Commander 7th Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard; Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); John Beutlich, Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine, Miami Office, and Al Lamberti, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff's Office announced today that Thomas Cash and Valdez Edgecombe have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, conspiracy to import into the United States cocaine and marijuana, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and importation of cocaine and marijuana into the United States. The defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum on January 22, 2008.

At today's detention hearing the government and defense entered into a stipulation that allowed the court to set a $250,000 corporate surety bond with a Nebbia condition. As part of the stipulation, the government reserved the right to seek detention at a future date. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment.

According to the filed charges, a United States Coast Guard vessel intercepted a 1982 31-foot Tiara vessel, identified as the "Black Widow," approximately two miles off the coast of Port Everglades, Florida, in Broward County. Coast Guard personnel boarded the vessel, which was occupied by defendants Cash and Edgecombe, who are both Bahamian nationals.

During the inspection of the vessel, Coast Guard discovered several large bundles and packages containing substances believed to be marijuana and cocaine filling the cabin of the vessel. A field test of the contents of several of the suspect packages and bundles proved positive for the presence of marijuana and cocaine. The approximate weight of the marijuana was two thousand (2000) pounds and the approximate weight of the cocaine was nine (9) kilograms. Thereafter, Cash and Edegecombe were arrested and transported to the Coast Guard's base in Port Everglades, Florida.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Broward County Sheriff's Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robin Waugh-Farretta.