Two men have been indicted for bringing Cuban cigars and rum into the U.S., according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Douglas Hiner, 68, and Martin Sengseis, 43, were both charged in separate smuggling cases.
Hiner's 53-foot sloop "Vitamin Sea" was boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Patrol as he returned from Havana on May 13th.
Agents say they found 361 Cuban cigars, as well as cigarettes. A search of the vessel turned up 26 specialized compartments built for smuggling, prosecutors say.
That find lead agents to a storage facility where they say they found 27,000 assorted Cuban cigars and 42 bottles of Cuban rum.
Sengseis ran his 51-foot sailboat aground on February 27th near Fort Myers Beach as he returned from Havana.
The Coast Guard crew that responded to the scene noticed several items that were clearly from Cuba out in plain view.
A thorough search of the Austrian-flagged "Golden Eagle" yielded 364 boxes of Cuban cigars, 45 bottles of Cuban rum, 30 pounds of Cuban coffee and 100 cartons of Cuban cigarettes in specialized smuggling compartments, authorities say.
Each man faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for bringing the contraband Cuban products into the U.S.
Friday, May 23, 2008