A South Florida drug smuggler who was arrested 30 years ago for attempting to transport marijuana from Jamaica to the US is now facing life in prison in connection with another narcotics case. Mark Marchand, 57, pleaded guilty last Friday to importing US$1.7 million worth of cocaine in August – a crime that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.
Marchand first made headlines in 1982 when he was found floating on a life raft about 30 miles east of Port Everglades with 600 pounds of marijuana he had tried to smuggle from Jamaica. Records show he served a little over a year in federal prison and got into some relatively minor legal scrapes over the years. On August 6, a US Customs and Border Protection aircraft spotted his sailboat near Pompano Beach, Florida. When agents searched the boat, they reportedly found about 190 pounds of cocaine and a small amount of heroin hidden in secret compartments on the vessel.
Marchand faces 10 years to life in prison and fines of up to US$10 million per charge when he is sentenced in January.