The Juan Sebasian de Elcano is one of Spain’s premier training ships for the the Royal Spanish Navy. The ship–which is the third tallest ship in the world and the one to sail the furthest with two million nautical miles covered–is named after the Spanish explorer who served as captain for explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and led the first circumnavigation of the world. On January 22, two suspected Colombian drug traffickers were arrested for allegedly using the ship to circumvent the law. Jorge Luis Hoayeck and Jorge Alberto Siado-Alvarez were both busted in the vicinity of Cartagena, accused of paying two midshipmen to hide eight kilos of narcotics (four kilos of heroin and four of cocaine) inside the ship and deliver them to dealers in New York City in 2014.
According to the DEA website, “Hoayeck and Siado-Alvarez oversaw a major international drug operation from their base in Cartagena, Colombia.” They communicated regularly with NYC hustlers by cell phones that were tapped. The incident in question happened on April 16, 2014. It was allegedly agreed that the midshipmen would be paid $32,000 to hide the drugs in the Juan Sebasian de Elcano. On May 14, of that year, while docked at the Port of New York, “the midshipmen allegedly met with the local traffickers and accompanied them to a residence in the Bronx, New York in order to deliver the narcotics.” Authorities caught the delivery on tape and followed two cars. One was followed to Hartford, CT, where a drop-off was made. The other was watched as it sat outside the stash house in the Bronx. The authorities seized the eight kilos, along with more kilos of drugs, paraphernalia and weapons. Seven of the NYC traffickers were arrested.
Hoayeck and Siado-Alvarez await extradition to the United States from Colombia. They face charges of operating as a major trafficker, second degree conspiracy, as well as first, second and third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. The “operating as a major trafficker” charge carries a possible life sentence, under New York’s kingpin statute.
An ongoing investigation is under way concerning another 127 kilos of coke were revealed after a thorough search of the ship conducted by the Spanish Civil Guard. Hoayeck and Siado-Alvarez have not been charged with that weight.