‘Could kill millions’: $1bn worth of cocaine seized at Philadelphia port
The US Attorney office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced on Twitter that an astonishing 16.5 tons (15 metric tons) of cocaine was discovered in course of the raid by federal agents, which is the biggest amount ever seized in the history of the district.
*BREAKING NEWS* Federal authorities have seized approximately 16.5 TONS of cocaine from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia. This is the largest drug seizure in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. @ICEgov@CBPMidAtlantic@PhillyPolice@USCG— U.S. Attorney EDPA (@USAO_EDPA) June 18, 2019
Law enforcement swooped down on a “large” container ship moored at the Packer Marine Terminal on Tuesday afternoon. Photos from the scene show agents with sniffer dogs inspecting a large red container loaded onto the vessel.
The multi-agency investigation led by Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection Agency is still underway. The crew has been apprehended and charged under federal law. The exact charges the alleged smugglers are facing have not been revealed.
The ship has not been officially identified either. However, photos of the drug bust suggest the name of the vessel is MSC Gayane.Also on rt.com MILLIONS of pills: 60 doctors & pharmacists caught up in largest federal opioid bust in US history
Online tracking data shows that the ship was sailing under a Liberian flag. It set off from the Colombian port of Buenaventura on May 19, making stops in Callao, Peru, on May 24, Cristobal, Panama, on June 9, and Freeport, The Bahamas on June 13 before it arrived in Philadelphia.
It is believed that the ship might have been loaded with the narcotics cargo in the Bahamas, NBC News reported, citing a senior law enforcement official.
The Gayane might have been heading to Europe, with the Dutch city of Rotterdam listed as its next port of call, according to Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV.
The amount of cocaine found on board could have claimed “millions” of lives if released on the black market, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William M. McSwain said in a tweet.
This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people. My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics. https://t.co/nWPfgpGqYa— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) June 18, 2019
The shipping company MSC has been made aware of the find, saying “it takes this matter very seriously” and looks forward to cooperating with the US authorities.
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