MIAMI — Two co-defendants of Manuel A. Noriega conspired with the former Panamanian dictator to smuggle a yacht "packed to the gunnels with cocaine" into Miami, prosecutors said Wednesday.
But lawyers for Brian Alden Davidow and William Saldarriaga said their clients are victims of political and legal pressures to convict Noriega.
"This story spans continents, spans generations, international intrigue and conflicts," Richard Sharpstein, Davidow's attorney, said during opening arguments at the trial for the two Noriega co-defendants.
The two men face two counts each of conspiring with Noriega to import and sell 322 kilograms of cocaine aboard the yacht Krill in March, 1986. They face a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
"There were discussions about Gen. Noriega receiving a portion of the proceeds when the 46-foot Krill reached America," chief prosecutor Michael Sullivan said. "The Krill was packed to the gunnels with cocaine."