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2 sentenced for importing 300 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two men were sentenced to nine and 12 years in federal prison in district court Thursday for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States from the Bahamas following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Jupiter Police Department, Boca Raton Police Department and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks sentenced Mark Pinder, 41, a Bahamian citizen, to 144 months in prison and Parson Exana, 38, former resident of Miramar, Fla., to 108 months imprisonment on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.

On May 25, ICE agents conducted an undercover enforcement operation on the high seas and received approximately 297 kilograms of cocaine from Pinder in a vessel-to-vessel transfer. The cocaine was subsequently transported to Palm Beach County. On May 26, law enforcement agents and officers conducted a controlled delivery of the 297 kilograms of cocaine to Pinder and Exana, in Jupiter, Fla. Pinder and Exana were arrested at that time.

The combined investigation targeted individuals who use maritime vessels to smuggle drugs into South Florida from the Bahamas.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaniek Maynard.