A cargo ship has been seized in Philadelphia with 16.
5 tons of cocaine worth over $1 billion. It is one of the biggest drug busts in the history of the United States, according to reports.
A source confirmed that the $90 million MSC Gayane is owned by JP Morgan. The company is understood to not have any operational control and the vessel is chartered to the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company.
The biggest cocaine haul in the history of US Customs, 35,000 lbs. of cocaine was seized from a ship at the Philadelphia port.
The vessels also made stops in Panama, Peru, and the Bahamas before reaching Philadelphia. At least six members of the crew from Samoa and Serbia have been charged with conspiracy to possess drugs aboard a ship.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain wrote on Twitter: “This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people.”
Atty. McSwain confirmed MSC is a Swiss-based shipping company and one of the biggest shipping lines.
Officials initially seized the drugs but it was declared a warrant had been issued that let Customs and Corder Protection officials take custody of the vessel itself.
MSC said in a statement last month: “Unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems.
“MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.”
An official stated that the drugs were concealed in seven shipping containers aboard the vessel and when agents opened them up, they discovered the drugs in bags.
“You thought you could breeze to our port and leave with enough cocaine to destroy millions of lives without getting caught. You thought you were clever. You were wrong,” McSwain said.
“You underestimated the city, you underestimated our law enforcement capabilities, and you underestimated our commitment to decimate the evil and immoral drug trade.”
Authorities found anomalies while examining the shipping containers on board. Agents escorted the vessel to Philadelphia and a full investigation led to the discovery of cocaine.
It wasn’t clear whether the drugs seized were intended for Europe or the US but the ship was heading for northern Europe when it was raided.
The director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, James Carroll, said: “Make no mistake, we will use every resource at our disposal to find these traffickers and once we have them in custody we will employ the fullest measure of the law possible.
“We also must never forget to help our fellow citizens who are struggling with addiction and need help.”
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