October 01, 2018
Contact: Public Information Officer
Phone Number: (954) 660-4602
Former Miami-Dade County resident sentenced to over 12 years in prison for attempted international narcotics trafficking
MIAMI - On Sept. 28, 2018, Richard Senese, 39, a former Miami-Dade County resident was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, for attempted international narcotics trafficking.
Senese, formerly of Hialeah, previously pled guilty to attempting to import cocaine into the United States.
According to the court docket, including the agreed upon factual proffer, on March 18, 2018, Senese attempted to smuggle 95 kilograms of cocaine, by boat, from the Bahamas. Senese concealed the narcotics in the fuel tank of his vessel. As Senese was traveling from the Bahamas to the United States, as the sole occupant of his vessel, the boat became disabled. Air Marine units from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted Senese approximately 10 nautical miles east of Port Everglades and conducted an in-bound customs border search of the vessel.
Federal agents spoke with Senese, who claimed that he was returning from an overnight stay in the Bahamas. However, Senese could not remember the name of the hotel where he stayed. He also was unable to produce any documentation related to his stay or show that he had cleared Bahamian Customs. Senese claimed that during his trip he fished offshore of Bimini in the area of Great Isaac Light. Fish were present on board the vessel. During other portions of the interview, Senese provided evasive and inconsistent answers. As a result, agents referred the vessel to Port Everglades for a dockside secondary inspection.
Upon arrival at Port Everglades, Customs and Border Protection agents and members of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office conducted a secondary inspection of the vessel. During the inspection, a narcotics detection canine alerted to the odor of drugs. Law enforcement also noticed the fasteners holding the deck cover were loose and showed signs of recent tampering. Members of law enforcement removed the deck cover over the fuel tank area in the cockpit and discovered packages containing 95 kilograms of cocaine.
This investigation was conducted by the , Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the , Broward County Sheriff’s Office. This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.