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Sailors arrested for smuggling

MARCH 9 -- Six people aboard a 40-foot sailboat were arrested Monday off Fairhope, Ala., for attempting to smuggle nearly 37 pounds of cocaine into the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors and members of other federal and local agencies, arrested Gary Grist, who is 60, and 47-year-old Henry Greeson, both of Auburn, Ga., according to a news release. The men were charged with drug smuggling.

The other four passengers — two men from Colombia, and a man and a woman from Ecuador — were also arrested and would be charged with violating immigration law, the release says. All six people were being held at the metropolitan jail in Mobile, Ala.

“Drug traffickers who think the Alabama coast is an easy way to bring drugs into the United States need to think again,” Alabama ICE assistant special agent Dwight McDaniel says in the release. “ICE and our Department of Homeland Security partners are vigilant, and will continue using all our resources and authorities to stop illegal contraband from entering the United States.”

Although the boat is from the Mobile area, a news report says, authorities did not say from where in South America the group had set off. Authorities did say that they believe that Fairhope was the group’s final destination.

The cocaine, according to the news release, has a wholesale value of $330,000 and a street value of more than $1 million.

— Jason Fell