The chief mate, Bosko Markovic, on the MSC Gayane when it was arrested in Philadelphia in 2019 with a record haul of cocaine worth $1.3bn has been sentenced to seven years in US prison. Markovic was promised $1m to lead the smuggling effort onboard. He was responsible for recruiting some of the seven crew members who have also been found guilty of taking part in the operation.
Markovic was recruited in the Balkans to oversee the smuggling operation, like some of the other crewmembers involved in the job. None of the convicted men have named the suppliers of the cocaine.
The crew used burner phones to communicate with the drug suppliers in South America and coordinated the loading of the drugs from speedboats that approached the container vessel several times under cover of night. The drugs were hidden in shipping containers.
“His role was necessary,” said assistant US attorney Jerome Maiatico. “A smuggling scheme of this magnitude would likely not have been possible without the chief officer in on the scheme.”