It was billed as one of the top places to let the good times roll — a party boat named the “Sea You Twerk.” The novel name was posted on the back of the vessel that sailed this spring. It looked like the party that would never end. There are images on social media of the Sea You Twerk and scantily clad women in bathing suits dancing on it.
For now though, the Sea You Twerk is off the dance floor.
Owner Dallas Allan Ladd is being charged with felonies in federal court. He says he’s innocent, but prosecutors say he violated a direct order from the Captain of the Port, lied to U.S. Coast Guard investigators, and obstructed their investigation, too.
Rear Admiral Peter Brown exclusively told NBC 6 there are serious problems with illegal charter operations like Ladd’s.
“This illegal charter issue we have going on in South Florida where unsafe unlicensed captains are taking out boats for hire and putting passengers’ lives in danger,” Brown said.
Federal court records show the Coast Guard investigators boarded the Sea You Twerk several times, and Ladd told them he was just out partying with friends and no money changed hands.
The Coast Guard went undercover and called and asked about chartering the vessel.
The documents say Ladd told them, “As long as we can do it under the table, if the Coast Guard stops us, we just got to say we are all friends and nobody paid…and they can’t say anything.”
Posing as partygoers, the investigators paid for a ride, and once on board, the documents show they recorded Ladd telling those on the boat to say they were friends if the Coast Guard did board. The investigator also wrote Ladd said it was OK to do illegal drugs on the vessel.
Admiral Brown told NBC 6 the illegal charter operations are now a breeding ground for serious crimes.
“We found in addition to the illegal charter operations often there are some other things going on. We’ve seen a couple of cases where there have been prostitution, drug use. Things like that going on,” Brown said.
There is no formal allegation that Ladd had anything to do with prostitution. NBC 6 did reach out to his attorney but didn’t hear back from him.
Ladd could end up with a 16-year prison sentence and he’s due back in court next month.