The New York Times, February 20, 1920, p. 2:|
MIAMI, Fla., Feb. 19.-- Miami is agog today with the tales of smuggling. In every club, hotel, restaurant and café people are discussing thrilling topics of how Captain K---- or Skipper L---- slipped through the net of revenue cutters and landed with a rich cargo, and as they talk they drink.
FLORIDA SMUGGLES DRINK FROM ISLANDSThrilling Exploits of "Runners" Chief Topic
of Conversation in Clubs and Hotels.
STATE OFFICIALS APATHETIC
Little Effort is Made to Enforce Law
and a Dollar Bill Gets a Highball in Most Places.
Special to The New York Times
The prohibition amendment did not stop the sale of liquor in Florida; it merely boosted the price and gave the country an interesting topic of conversation. It is not difficult to secure a drink of whiskey in Florida. It cannot be said that it is sold openly, but the assurance that one is "all right" and a dollar bill will bring a highball in almost any restaurant.
Civil and state authorities are not "against" the smuggling. They agree with the people that the nation should be wet and make no great effort to arrest the smugglers.
In one county the Sheriff is supposed to be in league with the liquor runners. It is said that this Sheriff went out with some revenue agents, made an arrest, and left the liquor in charge of a colored man while the smugglers were being arrested. When they returned the colored man an the liquor had disappeared.
"Florida didn't vote to make this nation dry," said one city official when asked about the situation.
So all the smugglers only face the Government officers. These revenue officers have more than 500 miles of coast to cover, and it is said that almost every one of the thousands of islands in the West Indies group is a caché for liquor. On Lemini Cays, in Nassau, on the Mahoma Islands, even on San Salvador, where Christopher Columbus first landed, there is whiskey. It is purchased from the United States, shipped out, and then smuggled back.
Last week in Nassau seven ships came to port with cargoes of whiskey, bonded whiskey from Kentucky and Peoria. The cargoes were removed and the whiskey disappeared.
Any vessel that can travel through the gulf stream is used by the smugglers. Sometimes the liquor is brought close to the three-mile limit and then anchored to a buoy to be picked up by fishermen later.
Outside of Miami there is a series of buoys marking the channel. A party of revenue officers went out to change one of the markers. Deep in the water, attached to the buoy, they discovered a case of whiskey.
Whiskey can be purchased in Nassau for 11 shillings a quart. In Miami, a quart of the stuff can be purchased for $10.
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