Click for Trinity
Click for Oceanco
Click for JetForums
Click for Ferretti
Click for Nordhavn
Click for McConaghy
Go Back   YachtForums.Com > GENERAL YACHTING DISCUSSION > General Yachting Discussion > Ever wonder about Striker Yachts...

Login to YachtForums
Username
Password

Reply

Ever wonder about Striker Yachts...

 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-27-2011, 09:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
SHAZAM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Ghetto
Posts: 600
Ever wonder about Striker Yachts...

...and the Phillips family behind them? From the Miami Herald...

A key member of the infamous Miami-based Black Tuna Gang, the biggest U.S. marijuana-smuggling operation of its time, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service Thursday morning in West Palm Beach -- more than 31 years after he skipped out of a federal trial.

Mark Steven Phillips, 62, was captured in his rented apartment at Century Village, a senior living community where he had been living in recent months, law enforcement officers said.

``The judge wants to see you, Mark,'' a deputy U.S. marshal told Phillips after rousting him out of bed.

``The judge wants to see me from 30 years ago,'' Phillips responded, according to the Marshals Service.

Phillips was charged in May 1979 along with 13 others in what was then the nation's biggest pot importation prosecution in history -- before the dawn of the Cocaine Cowboy era in Miami. The trial was before U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King, who is still on the bench. Phillips was convicted in absentia on racketeering, possession and distribution charges in February 1980.

At his first court appearance in decades Thursday afternoon, a pale and bald Phillips was wearing a beige long-sleeved shirt, light-green shorts and tan sandals -- along with shackles around his wrists, ankles and waist.

Phillips, who faces sentencing for the racketeering conviction and charges as a fugitive, told U.S. Magistrate Edwin Torres that he has no property, $600 in a bank account and receives $667 in monthly Social Security benefits. He told Torres that he couldn't afford a lawyer, so the magistrate appointed one for him, at taxpayer expense.

``I'm retired,'' he said. ``Your honor, I would like to say something. . . . I have no valid passport -- nothing but a bicycle, but I'm not going anywhere.''

A joint DEA/FBI task force in Miami that took down the Black Tuna Gang estimated the ring smuggled 500 tons of marijuana into the United States over a 16-month period. The case was the first combined investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI on drug profits behind the marijuana trade.

The gang operated, at least briefly, from a suite in Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel, according to the DEA.

The Tunas invested in yachts, particularly Fort Lauderdale-based Striker Aluminum Yachts. Its treasurer, Phillips, whose family owned the company, retrofitted yachts for maximum carrying capacity, painting water lines on the hulls to give the illusion they weren't riding low even when they were laden with tons of marijuana.

The grass was transported in these modified boats and unloaded at a series of waterfront ``stash houses'' in posh neighborhoods.

The Black Tuna gang also used state-of-the-art electronic equipment to stay in touch with marijuana-laden freighters and to monitor DEA and Customs communications channels.

A DEA-FBI probe of Florida banks called Operation Banco, which began in 1977, traced the group's drug profits through South Florida banks until members of the Black Tuna Gang made a large cash deposit in a Miami Beach bank.

In the racketeering indictment, Phillips was accused of showing two vessels in 1977 to a co-conspirator that had been used in the smuggling of 20 tons of marijuana into the United States. He also was accused of going to a Miami address to pick up a suitcase filled with cash, and paying $223,000 to buy a yacht for future marijuana smuggling trips.

After his arrest, Phillips was released from custody on July 5, 1979, on a $25,000 bond. He took part in his trial for more than a month, but then failed to show up on Nov. 5. King issued a bench warrant charging him as a fugitive.

The Marshals Service soon learned Phillips had fled the country.

In 1993, relying on informants, deputies discovered that he was in Santiago, Chile, had assumed a new identity, Marcus Steffan, and had married a Chilean woman. He also created a fishing company with her, calling it Fishing Research Inc., according to the marshals.

Eight years passed before deputy marshals received new information that he was traveling between Chile and Germany. They learned from German authorities that Phillips had obtained a driver's license and passport in that country in the name of Marcus Steffan.

According to the marshals, the ``fake'' passport was valid for the next 10 years.

Knowing his new identity, deputy marshals began running checks on Phillips to see if he had entered the United States. They found that he flew into New York from London in August of 2000, and again several other times in 1999 and 1998.

In February 2001, they discovered that he had been renting two New York penthouse apartments for $10,000 a month, using the name of Steffan Marcus, but that he had been evicted the previous year.

Deputy marshals learned that Phillips flew from New York to Miami in January 2001, but they missed him by one month. He had continued on to Chile. He stayed there until 2010, when deputy marshals assigned to the Cold Case Fugitive Squad realized that he had slipped back into the United States and obtained a Florida driver's license under his real name in September.

The address on his new license was wedged between Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami's historic black neighborhood, Overtown: 1050 NW 14th St., Apt. 430. It was the address of a Rodeway Inn.

Deputy marshals continued to track him down, this time to West Palm Beach, where they arrested him Thursday at the senior living community.

``Phillips never attempted to use his fake name,'' said Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden. ``All of his belongings were contained in one travel bag.''
SHAZAM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 09:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Marmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: 9114 S. Central Ave
Posts: 2,929
Wow, what an amazing story. You could almost sympathize with the guy except for a few of the details. I bet he wishes he hadn't walked away the first time.

I wonder what the judge will do this time.
Marmot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 10:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 56
Very interesting. This reads like a story line from an old 70's detective show like Cannon or Rockford files.
Hattsoff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 11:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
K1W1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: My Office
Posts: 6,349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot
I wonder what the judge will do this time.
Hi,

I wouldn't like to guess what he will do but think something he won't do is grant the guy bail this time.

It makes you wonder why he went back to using his own name after having avoided it successfully for so long.

I wonder if after 30 yrs the cash was running low along with his contacts to get the false papers?

Interesting to read that Informants were key to his whereabouts and name change being known to the Feds, I guess he didn't sever all ties when he flew the coop.
K1W1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 11:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
yachtbrokerguy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
There is a 70' Striker right outside my office, I will have to check the bilge more carefully.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Marmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: 9114 S. Central Ave
Posts: 2,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by K1W1
Interesting to read that Informants were key to his whereabouts and name change being known to the Feds, I guess he didn't sever all ties when he flew the coop.
I guess the old saying that "you can run but you can't hide" is true. You can almost see a second generation of detectives checking databases every few weeks and making calls to old contacts just to see what turns up. This really is TV movie stuff isn't it?

It does sound like he was broke and had run out of energy. Using his own name must have been one of those "I'm ready to give up" things that he knew would end in his capture before too long. He must have been tired of running and saw a really lousy future.

At least in prison he won't have to live on cat food and depend on the hospital emergency room for medical care like so many other American oldies.
Marmot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 11:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: roche harbor wa
Posts: 275
yea i think you guy's are right at least this way we will get med attention and fresh food and a place to sleep and it won't cost him any thing but time , and he can spend that watching T V or what ever

travler
travler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 12:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Ft.Myers Bch.
Posts: 12
It was said he was collecting social security but that he was found because of him applying for a drivers license. Govt agencies still dont communicate that well.
outlawten5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 02:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Pascal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,363
i don't know what worries me the most... that he was collecting SS, that a drivers licensed was issues to a fugitive or that he was able to come in and out of the country a few times without getting caught at the airport!

of course, considering the state of our southern border and the recent discovery of iran printed terrorism books along a trail used by smuggler, this guy story isnt' that worrysome! :-)

Last edited by Pascal; 01-28-2011 at 03:30 PM..
Pascal is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 03:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Marmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: 9114 S. Central Ave
Posts: 2,929
"...the recent discovery of iran printed terrorism books..."

I would rather have book stores filled with Iranian printed "terrorism books" than have the government keeping any book out of my hands.

You know that old saying about trading "security" for freedom don't you?
Marmot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Pascal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,363
obviously.. but migrant workers crossing the southern border dont' read iranian terrorism manuals... so when oen such book is found in the desert, it's cause for worry!
Pascal is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 05:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Marmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: 9114 S. Central Ave
Posts: 2,929
Porbably planted there by someone who sells gee whiz stuff to the border patrol.

Or, looking at it the other way, any wannabe terrorist stupid enough to carry his how-to manual with him while sneaking across the most highly guarded border we have he can't be too bright anyway. Then losing the silly book after crossing pretty much puts him in amongst the lower level of threats I think.
Marmot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 05:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Pascal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,363
"across the most highly guarded border we have"

you're joking, right?
Pascal is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 07:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Posts: 5,825
It isn't surprising. Most people involved in the boat building business in South Florida were involved in the drug business one way or another. Either knowingly building drug boats for customers who paid cash. Or running it themselves, or whatever. I heard stories from a friend of mine who worked at a big wellcraft dealership in the early 80's. They had numerous customers who would buy Scarabs, rip and throw the entire interior out on the dock in a big pile at the dealership.....including the refrigerators and everything else, and then drive the boat away. Drug running was pretty widespread back then in South Florida, and pretty obvious to who was doing what. All you had to do was go to Shooters.......you'd see 12 race boats tied up on a weekday night.......then all of a sudden at 11pm or later they'd all split, all at the same time.
Capt J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 09:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Marmot's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: 9114 S. Central Ave
Posts: 2,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascal
"across the most highly guarded border we have"

you're joking, right?
No. Do the math.

We have just under 1,000 border guards on the 4000 mile border with Canada.

We have about 10,000 border guards plus 1,200 National Guard troops along the slightly less than 2,000 mile border with Mexico.

US/Canada border: number of guards per mile .25 or 1 guard every 4 miles.

US/Mexico border: number of guards per mile 5 plus .6 NG troopers per mile.
Marmot is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are EST. The time now is 11:01 AM.

Click for MCC
Click for Horizon
Click for Trinity
Click for Lurssen
Click for Westport
Click for Alexseal


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2