One of the two Colombian men accused of using a historic ship nicknamed "the floating embassy of Spain" to sail cocaine from South America to New York City has been extradited to Manhattan to face charges, prosecutors said.
Jorge Luis Hoayeck is expected to be arraigned Monday on drug smuggling charges after being brought to the city on Thursday, according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City. His alleged accomplice, Jorge Alberto Siado-Alvarez, is also expected to be extradited from Colombia to the Empire State in the near future.
Authorities said the two men allegedly ran a drug cartel and paid two crew members aboard the Juan Sebasian de Elcano -- a 371-foot steel-hulled, four-masted schooner built by Spain in 1927 for training purposes -- to ferry drugs to New York City in April and May 2014.
Authorities say the two crew members were paid about $32,000 to hide the drugs on the boat during a voyage to Manhattan. When the boat docked on Manhattan's west side on May 14, 2014, the two crew members allegedly traveled to the Bronx to deliver the cocaine to dealers for the cartel.
Authorities say that two days later DEA agents and NYPD officers along with and state police moved and made seven arrests as the drugs were being moved through Stamford, Connecticut. More drugs and weapons were found at the Bronx safehouse.
Prosecutors allege that Hoayeck and Siado-Alvarez came up with the plan to use the Spanish ship to smuggle 8 kilos of cocaine. Investigators said both men are heard on a wiretap discussing the plan.
When the ship returned to Spain, authorities there conducted a search and found 127 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a storeroom.
In 2014 – after visiting France, Italy and Morocco, it crossed the Atlantic to visit Colombia, the Dominican Republic and New York.
If convicted, the men could face up to life in prison. Information on their attorneys wasn't immediately available.