Officers from five federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies converged on a 53-foot sporting boat Wednesday afternoon, but only came up a handful of marijuana.
The Voodoo Lady, its captain, Jay Senne, and several crew members were detained 1 ½ hours while Customs officials and a drug-detecting dog at the Vero Beach Police Department searched the boat at the Sebastian River Marina in South Boulevard County.
They were released after the search only yielded a couple of grams of marijuana in a first aid kit in one crewman’s gear.
The crewman, Ralph Decker, 34, 958 Louisiana Ave., Sebastian, was issued a notice to appear in court after being charged with misdemeanor possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana by a Brevard County deputy.
Members of the Indian River County Multi-agency Criminal Enforcement Unit set up surveillance at the Sebastian Inlet Wednesday afternoon. The Customs agents asked for their help in locating The Voodoo Lady. The boat is based at the Sebastian River Marina across U.S. 1 from Barefoot Bay, MACE member Mike Hill said.
MACE members alerted Customs when the boat spotted coming into the inlet about 4 p.m. Custom agents boarded the boat when it docked at the marina. Two Florida Marine Patrol officers, members
of the MACE unit and two Brevard County deputies stood by while the boat was searched.
Customs officials declined to say why a “look-out” was issued for the boat. Though the boat was based, and boarded, in Brevard County, the MACE unit was asked to assist because of its involvement with Operation Blue, a federal drug smuggling interdiction program, Hill said.
Past members of the MACE unit, which includes members from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department and cities of Sebastian and Vero Beach, have been certified by Customs officials to provide assistance to the federal agency when requested.