‘Could kill millions’: $1bn worth of cocaine seized at Philadelphia port

Erika Holt
June 19, 2019

Federal officials from the EPDA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Coast Guard were involved in the bust, along with Philadelphia Police, according to the EPDA.

Inspectors from Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration at the Port of New York/Newark searched the container on February 28 after noticing that its lock appeared to have been tampered with, law enforcement sources said.

The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia announced the massive bust on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, saying law enforcement agents seized about 15 metric tonnes of cocaine from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal.

Television footage of the seized ship in Philadelphia showed its name as MSC Gayane.

'While the investigation is ongoing, I want to thank all of our federal, state, and local partners for your incredible work so far in this investigation, ' he continued.

An officer with a dog inspects a container along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

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McSwain, noting the recent trend to mix cocaine with fentanyl, told NBC Philadelphia that "the ship contained enough cocaine to 'kill millions of people'".

The street value of the bust is estimated at more than $1 billion.

In February, customs agents seized 3,200 pounds (1,451 kilograms) at the Port of NY and New Jersey with a street value estimated at $77 million.

Experts say that the boom in cocaine trafficking is fueled by excess supply in Colombia, where eradication efforts have been lax in recent years.

A kilogram of cocaine sells for about $28,000, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's 2016 estimate. It was then taken to an undisclosed federal facility for analysis, the report said.

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