DOJ charges ex-heavyweight boxer Goran Gogic with trafficking over $1 billion of cocaine – USA TODAY

Federal prosecutors announced charges against a former professional boxer from Montenegro for allegedly trafficking more than $1 billion of cocaine. 
Goran Gogic, 43, was arrested by authorities Sunday night at the Miami International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, according to the Department of Justice. He is accused of overseeing the logistics of cocaine shipments aboard cargo ships going from South America to Europe passing through ports in the United States, court documents show. 
Authorities intercepted three of those shipments on separate occasions at the Port of Philadelphia and the Port of New York and New Jersey in 2019, the DOJ said in a news release.
The shipment that was intercepted at the Port of Philadelphia aboard the MSC Gayane on June 19, 2019 contained 17,956 kilos of cocaine and was alone worth over $1 billion, making it one of the largest cocaine seizures in U.S. history, prosecutors said in a memorandum. Several members of the vessel’s crew members were arrested and prosecuted, also. 
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The ships would be loaded with the cocaine at night near the ports where they were docked. Ship crewmembers would hoist the shipments up from speedboats and hide them in select shipping containers, according to the news release. Gogic was present when each shipment was loaded, according to the indictment. 
Prosecutors allege that Gogic coordinated with every part of the smuggling operation: the crew aboard commercial cargo ships, the traffickers in Colombia who sourced the cocaine, the speed boat workers who loaded the drugs onto the ships and the dock workers in Europe who received and offloaded the shipments. 
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“This complex operation relied on having access to each ship’s crew, route, manifest, real-time positioning and geolocation data and a knowledge of what legitimate cargo is contained in each container,” the DOJ said in its news release.
Authorities also seized cocaine connected to Gogic’s scheme at ports in Peru, Panama, the Netherlands and other countries, the DOJ said. 
“This arrest came as a surprise” to Gogic, his lawyer Lawrence Hashish told USA TODAY Tuesday. Hashish said he could not yet comment on the facts of the case, but said his client maintained his innocence.
Gogic is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act and three counts of violating the same act, and faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, according to the DOJ. 
He is in custody and has a detention hearing set for Nov. 7, Hashish said. 
As a professional boxer, Goric had a record of 21-4 in a career spanning from 2001 to 2012, according to BoxRec. Most of his fights took place in Germany.
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