Former heavyweight boxer Goran Gojic has been charged with smuggling more than $1 billion worth of cocaine through US ports, the US Department of Justice announced Monday.
The 43-year-old Montenegrin was arrested Sunday night as he tried to board a Miami International flight, the DOJ said in a news release.
According to court documents, Gogic was charged with three counts of violating the Maritime Narcotics Act and one count of violating the Maritime Narcotics Act. If convicted, he faces a mandatory 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, the DOJ said.
Brian Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, described the amount of cocaine Gojic and his accomplices tried to move as “staggering,” more than 20 tons.
Between May 2018 and July 2019, Gojic “conspired with others to distribute large quantities of cocaine” taken from Colombia to Europe on commercial cargo ships loaded in the U.S., according to DOJ and court documents.
The DOJ said US law enforcement officers seized three shipments of cocaine.
The largest of the three seizures occurred on June 19, 2019, in the Port of Philadelphia, when nearly 20 tons of cocaine were found hidden aboard the MSC Gayane.
It is “one of the largest cocaine busts in US history” and is worth more than $1 billion, the DOJ said.
Reuters reported that Gojic was arrested after appearing in federal court in Miami on Monday, quoting his lawyer, who told the news agency that the charges surprised his client, saying that Gojic “maintained his innocence and should have come to the United States.” for the boxing meet in Puerto Rico”.
Gojic is scheduled to be arraigned in the Eastern District of New York at an unspecified date, the Justice Department said.
CNN reached out to Gojic’s attorneys and the Montenegrin consulate in New York City for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
According to Box Rec, Gojic’s boxing career spanned 11 years from 2001 to 2012. He retired with 21 wins, four losses and two ties.