Jonathon Costenbader, Cocaine Yacht Captain, Pleads Guilty
Cocaine Megayacht Captain, Jonathon Costenbader, plead guilty to conspiring to import cocaine in federal court in West Palm Beach on Friday.
Back in October, we told you about the 34-year-old Costenbader, who captained a 132-foot luxury megayacht called the Secret Spot. He was also apparently captaining around a literal boatload of cocaine.
Initial reports had him transporting around 620 pounds of yeyo on the Secret Spot. But, as it turns out, it was more like 1,100 pounds. According to the feds, the coke had a street value of about $14.5 million.
The feds said Costenbader was paid to import a cool $20 million worth of coke between June and October.
When he was busted in October, Costenbader had just docked the Secret Spot from the Bahamas at the Palm Harbor Marina in West Palm Beach.
He was spotted carrying duffel bags off the yacht and then loading them into his pickup. Costenbader's girlfriend, Michelle Daniel, 33, helped him unload the bags. She was also arrested. Daniel pled guilty to similar charges.
Costenbader was apparently very forthcoming with the authorities when he was confronted.
When agents asked him what was in the bags, he replied, "Cocaine."
Costenbader also admitted getting the coke from the Bahamas and said he was going to hand the drugs over to another man here in Florida named Steve Torello Davis.
Feds had the captain place a call to Davis to set up a place to meet where the cocaine could be delivered.
According to investigators, Davis was expecting 200 bricks, which he was allegedly going to turn over to other people.
Homeland Security Investigations agents, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office were all ready to pounce when the two men met up. And pounce they did, arresting the 26-year-old Davis.
On Friday, Davis also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
According to agents, Costenbader had been paid $500,000 for importing coke in the past, and was expecting another $700 grand this time around when they nabbed him. He also told agents that he had about $200,000 at his home, and that he lost most of it on gambling.
Costenbader, Daniel and Davis are scheduled to be sentenced on February 21.
If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of ten years to life in federal prison and a $10 million fine.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.
- Forecasters Warn of Rip-Current Risk for Broward and Palm Beaches Through Weekend
- Kissing Bug, Insect That Carries Parasite, Reported in Florida
- After Motorcyclist Loses Leg, Petition Calls for Safer I-95 Express Lanes