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History of Midnight Express??

Old 01-25-2021, 09:32 PM
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Curious as to the history and evolution of Midnight Express boats. I know the current owners have owned the company since 2006. What about prior to that? Seems like Tom Mason owned them from 2000 - 2006, were all years good boats under Tom Mason or are there years to stay away from? I also found that Pedro Medina and Byng Goode owned the company at least in the 80's. Who started M.E. and in what year? And who owned them after what appears to be some legal issues around 1987. Were they just dormant for a decade until Tom Mason bought them, and when he bought them, did he get all the original molds?
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Old 01-31-2021, 09:48 PM
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January 24, 1987|By DEBORAH PETIT, Staff Writer
The co-owner of Midnight Express, a custom speed boat manufacturer, admitted in federal court Friday that he allowed an accused marijuana smuggler to secretly invest $500,000 in drug profits in his business.

As punishment, Byng Goode`s company must make $500,000 worth of the sleek, high-powered boats for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to use in their efforts to combat drug smuggling.

Goode, who with partner Pedro Medina runs the Opa-locka company, told the judge he knew the $500,000 he got from smuggling suspect Patrick Bilton was profits from a Fort Lauderdale-based marijuana-trafficking operation.

Goode, 38, of Opa-locka, appeared in the Miami courtroom to plead guilty to a tax-conspiracy charge, in which he admitted helping launder drug proceeds for Bilton, a Fort Lauderdale resident. Goode now faces a possible five-year prison term.

And while he will be allowed to keep his business, Midnight Express` 25 employees must start building boats to DEA specifications.

Acknowledged for turning out a top-of-the-line product, Midnight Express boats have been featured in scenes on Miami Vice and are of the type preferred by drug smugglers to bring their illegal loads in quickly from the islands.

The first of several boats Midnight Express will deliver to the DEA is a 34- foot vessel worth $175,000, with four 200 horsepower engines and extras such as a stereo, air-conditioning and satellite navigation equipment.

``We don`t have the money to pay (the $500,000 to the government) but we do have the ability to build boats,`` said James P. Ryan, Goode`s defense attorney.

Ryan stressed that Goode was not cooperating with the government, only ``taking his licks with the tax count.``

Government officials are pleased with the unusual arrangement, said Lothar Genge, an organized crime strike-force prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department in Fort Lauderdale.

Had the government simply seized the business, it would have been worth little.

But allowing it to remain open means the DEA will have some new boats that can keep up with the smugglers` vessels, Genge said..

Goode is to be sentenced on March 9. His business partner, Medina, was not involved in Bilton`s transfer of cash to the business and will not be charged, Genge said.

Goode`s guilty plea comes as an offshoot of ``Operation Man,`` a joint DEA, Scotland Yard and Internal Revenue Service money-laundering investigation.

To date, Operation Man has resulted in indictments of two Miami lawyers and a dozen alleged smugglers, including Bilton.

One of those lawyers, Michael Irwin Levine, already pleaded guilty and admitted he helped smugglers conceal at least $50 million in offshore corporate bank accounts.

In August 1982, Bilton began turning over cash for Goode to invest in Midnight Express, said Special Agent Klaus Hurme, with the IRS criminal investigations division in Fort Lauderdale. The cash payments -- as much as $75,000 at a time -- continued for about two years, Hurme said.

The charges against Bilton are still pending.
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Old 01-31-2021, 09:52 PM
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Actually this was a joint investigation by several agencies including the US Customs Service, the agency that actually took delivery of the boats in production. The boats were 37 Midnights with quad Mercury outboards. The last Midnights saw service with Customs in the Caribbean and were phased out in the late 90’s.

The article doesn’t mention the ME was actually building boats with under deck compartments with pneumatic rams to push the contraband forward. The owner pled to money laundering but they were actually knowingly building boats with compartments.

The rebirth of ME had no relationship to the original owners and the hulls are completely different from the original straight vees.

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Old 02-01-2021, 06:58 PM
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so from 2006 to current, all the models/molds and everything is completely separate from previous years and its past? In essence, the 2006 - present Midnight Express is just a name, everything else is different?
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ing View Post
Actually this was a joint investigation by several agencies including the US Customs Service, the agency that actually took delivery of the boats in production. The boats were 37 Midnights with quad Mercury outboards. The last Midnights saw service with Customs in the Caribbean and were phased out in the late 90’s.

The article doesn’t mention the ME was actually building boats with under deck compartments with pneumatic rams to push the contraband forward. The owner pled to money laundering but they were actually knowingly building boats with compartments.

The rebirth of ME had no relationship to the original owners and the hulls are completely different from the original straight vees.
who was building the boats from 1987 - 2000? Or did they stop production after the DEA boats were delivered, probably around 1990?
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Old 02-04-2021, 10:43 PM
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The history of Midnight begins with Byng Goode working at none other than Cigarette with the famous Don Aronow. When he left cigarette he used the 36 wide body running bottom and extended it 1 foot and re tooled a deck with the help of Pedro Medina. They started around 1980 they built a 30, 32 and 37, the boats became legendary for the ability to navigate in rough seas. In the following years they added triple and quad mercs and large tankage for longer range without fueling. They got caught up in the isle of man operation and that was the beginning of the end, the boats are sought after thru out the carribean . The production was low and you rarely see them any more. Midnight Express a Miami classic from a by gone era.
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Old 03-06-2021, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 21 Hustler View Post
Curious as to the history and evolution of Midnight Express boats. I know the current owners have owned the company since 2006. What about prior to that? Seems like Tom Mason owned them from 2000 - 2006, were all years good boats under Tom Mason or are there years to stay away from? I also found that Pedro Medina and Byng Goode owned the company at least in the 80's. Who started M.E. and in what year? And who owned them after what appears to be some legal issues around 1987. Were they just dormant for a decade until Tom Mason bought them, and when he bought them, did he get all the original molds?
I heard that powerplay sold out to midnight express, which I presume would of been circa mid 2000's. Hard to find any midnight express boats in that era that resemble a powerplay tho. I did see this boat mentioned and some head scratching Midnight Express??? - Offshoreonly.com
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