A retired British couple has been charged with drug smuggling more than 6 months after cops found more than $1.2 million worth of cocaine hidden in their suitcases on a cruise ship

The couple were traveling on a Marco Polo cruise liner. Above, a different Marco Polo ship seen docked in Liverpool, UK.

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The couple were traveling on a Marco Polo cruise liner. Above, a different Marco Polo ship seen docked in Liverpool, UK.
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Keith Ryall/Shutterstock

  • British couple Roger and Susan Clarke, 72 and 71, have been charged with drug smuggling, The Sun reported Tuesday.
  • The retirees were arrested in December, after their cruise ship docked in Lisbon, Portugal, and police officers said they found found 20 pounds of cocaine hidden in secret compartments in their luggage.
  • They face up to 12 years in a Portuguese prison if convicted.
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A British couple could spend 12 years behind bars after Portuguese cops said they caught them smuggling 20 pounds of cocaine into Europe on a cruise ship.

According to a nine-page indictment made public on Tuesday, and viewed by The Sun, Roger and Susan Clarke, 72 and 71, were charged with drug smuggling in connection to their December 4 arrest.

While prosecutors believe they have an “extremely strong” case against the couple, they said they have not been able to figure out who may have recruited the retirees into a life of crime.

The couple, a retired lorry driver and secretary, were living in Spain when they were arrested seven months ago.

Their cruise ship had docked in Lisbon, after returning from a transatlantic journey to the Caribbean, when cops raided their cabin and said they found cocaine hidden in secret compartments in four of their suitcases.

Fellow passengers said Roger brought the new suitcases aboard during a stop in St. Lucia and bragged that he got a good deal on them, The Sun reported.

Since their arrest, the couple have been held at separate jails in Portugal. Under Portugese law, they face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Read more: Here’s what 5 experts told us about the $1 billion worth of cocaine found on a boat owned by JPMorgan

The couple reportedly went to prison on drug smuggling charges before

When they were first arrested, The Mail on Sunday obtained court records showing that the couple had been arrested on drug smuggling charges before.

In 2004, the couple was reportedly arrested in Oslo, Norway, when officers found marijuana resin in a secret compartment of their car.

After their arrest, they skipped bail and returned to England, where they changed their last name from Button to Clarke and went into hiding, The Mail reported.

But they were caught in 2011, when Roger became chairman of their residents’ association, had his picture published in a local paper, and was reportedly recognized.

They were extradited back to Norway, where Roger served nearly five years and his wife served almost four years in prison, The Mail reported.

When they were released from prison, they returned to Spain and told friends they had been caught smuggling cigarettes, according to The Sun.