Two Passengers for Dance-Themed Cruise Arrested for Drugs

Video still courtesy Atlantis Events

By MarEx 2019-02-07 18:30:45

Two men were arrested Sunday for allegedly attempting to smuggle party drugs onto the Allure of the Seas, which was about to depart Miami for the world's largest all-gay cruise. One of the suspects is a federal contractor and allegedly used a government computer to discuss plans to distribute drugs, tipping off the authorities.

According to a police report, a drug-hunting dog alerted to luggage belonging to Robert Koehler and Peter Melendez, two passengers for Atlantis Events' Allure Caribbean Cruise.. A search allegedly uncovered 27 grams of MDMA, 18 grams of ketamine, 246 grams of GHB, 7 grams of Viagra and 5 grams of Adderall in their belongings. 

Melendez, an analyst for a defense contractor, allegedly used his work computer to send emails about plans to distribute the drugs on board. These messages were intercepted by authorities, contributing to his arrest. 

The sting was not the first time this year that passengers have been arrested while trying to bring drugs onto a dance-themed cruise, nor was it the largest bust. In January, more than a dozen passengers waiting to board an electronic dance music (EDM) cruise were arrested in Port Canaveral for alleged possession of illicit drugs. The majority of the suspects received misdemeanor possession and drug paraphernalia charges, but two individuals were charged with trafficking for alleged possession of larger quantities of MDMA. Last year, the same event - the Holy Ship! EDM cruise - resulted in more than four dozen arrests over the course of two back-to-back sailings.

Harm reduction

While the overwhelming majority of passengers return safely, several drug-related fatalities have occurred during Atlantis events. Last year, Discovery Channel star Joel Taylor succumbed to a suspected overdose aboard the Harmony of the Seas, which was operating under charter for the Atlantis Caribbean Cruise. 

After Taylor's death, Jim Key, the former chief marketing officer of the world's largest LGBT organization, called for harm-reduction measures to prevent further overdoses. "The reality . . . is that people will always find a way to bring party drugs onboard and the likelihood of drug use increases exponentially when the ship’s itinerary includes all-night dance parties, as the Atlantis cruises always do," he wrote. Key called for on-board medical personnel trained in handling overdoses and for the availability of treatment without fear of prosecution.