Former heavyweight boxer Goran Gogic was charged with the maritime trafficking of over $1 billion worth of cocaine through US ports, the US Department of Justice said on Monday.
The 43-year-old Montenegrin was arrested on Sunday night as he tried to board an international flight from Miami, the DOJ said in a news release.
Gogic has been charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act and three counts of violating the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, according to court documents. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with an upper threshold of life in prison, the DOJ said.
Breon Peace, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, described the quantities of cocaine that Gogic and his co-conspirators allegedly tried to move as “staggering” and noted that it was more than 20 tons.
Between May 2018 and July 2019, Gogic allegedly “conspired with others to distribute massive quantities of cocaine” sourced from Colombia to Europe on commercial cargo ships loaded in the US, according to the DOJ and court documents.
The DOJ says US law enforcement officers seized three shipments of cocaine.
The largest of the three seizures happened at the Port of Philadelphia on June 19, 2019, when nearly 20 tons of cocaine were found hidden on board the MSC Gayane.
It was “one of the largest seizures of cocaine in United States history” and worth over $1 billion, the DOJ said.
Gogic’s lawyer Lawrence Hashish told CNN that he was detained after appearing in federal court in Miami on Monday and that the charges came as a surprise to his client, adding that Gogic maintains his innocence, and he had come to the United States for a boxing convention in Puerto Rico.
Hashish added that Gogic has a detention hearing set for November 7 in Miami federal court, but the date is subject to change as Gogic is currently in quarantine in the detention center.
CNN reached out to the Consulate of Montenegro in New York for comment.
Gogic’s boxing career spanned 11 years, from 2001 to 2012, according to BoxRec. He retired with a record of 21 wins, four defeats and two draws.