$1 Billion in Cocaine Seized at Philly Port, Crew Charged | NBC10 Philadelphia

Clay Curtis
June 19, 2019

Crew members allegedly helped transfer bales of cocaine from the boats to the container ship.

The seizure ranks among some of the largest in USA history including a bust of 21 tons of cocaine in California in 1989 and 14 tons of cocaine confiscated in Texas during the same year.

The Port of Philadelphia said the situation was still developing and that it had no comment. The U.S. attorney's office reports the crew of the ship have been arrested and charged.

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.

Investigators found the cocaine concealed in seven shipping containers on the cargo ship MSC Gayane at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.

More than $1 billion worth of cocaine has been seized at the Philadelphia Port on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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U.S. Attorney William McSwain tweeted: "This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history".

At least two crew members were arrested, a spokesperson for the EPDA told The Philadelphia Inquirer. That was the largest cocaine bust at the ports since 1994.

The ship's previous ports of call were the Bahamas on June 13, Panama on June 9, Peru on May 24 and Colombia on May 19, records show.

"There are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in almost a decade", the US State Department said in a global narcotics trade report in 2017.

The company says it's grateful to authorities for "identifying any suspected abuse of its services". A 1989 bust in downtown Los Angeles netted nearly 43,000 pounds (19,504 kilograms) of the drug.

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