WEST PALM BEACH — A sea captain who occasionally stars in TV shows about sharks, and two people were arrested as part of what federal authorities claim is a smuggling operation that used a jacuzzi-equipped, 106-foot floating palace to transport drugs.
Jon Costenbader, skipper of the M/Y Secret Spot and a volunteer in charge of keeping sharks at bay during extreme swimmer Diana Nyad recent swim from Cuba, was charged with felony conspiracy to import cocaine Monday.
A passenger, Fort Lauderdale resident Michelle Daniel, as well as a Lake Worth man who alleged was to receive the shipment, Steven Davis, were also arrested, according to federal drug enforcement authorities.
In all, 620 pounds of cocaine bricks were recovered when Costenbader was allegedly spotted unloading duffel bags stuffed with coke from the ship.
It sailed from The Bahamas and docked at West Palm Beach’s fancy Palm Harbor Marina — without clearing customs.
What sets the case apart, meanwhile, is the alleged smugglers’ method of transportation.
While the cocaine cowboys of yesteryear used older, cramped single-engine planes, today’s suspects are getting points for style!
The Secret Spot is mega-yacht with a crew of three that can sleep up to eight people and can be chartered for $50,000 A WEEK, including Capt. Costenbader’s services.
Ownership of the 2004 ship is unclear at this point, and the shutdown of government websites is making it nearly impossible to figure out. She flies the flag of the Marshall Islands.
Secret Spot, however, is up for sale for $4.59 million. Broker Bob Lucas, who has the listing, declined comment.
“It’s confidential,” he said when asked about the owner.