2 charged in huge cocaine bust at Philly port

Erika Holt
June 20, 2019

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that agents had seized 16.5 tons of cocaine from a cargo ship in Philadelphia.

NY saw its largest cocaine bust in a quarter century in that months as well with $77 million worth of the drug seized from a cargo ship in the port of NY and New Jersey. The drugs have a street value of more than $1 billion.

According to local media, the cocaine were seized late Monday.

Instead, US authorities seized the haul, totalling about 14.5 tonnes with an estimated street value of US$1 billion (AUD$1.4 billion), according to federal prosecutors. Crew members allegedly helped transfer bales of cocaine from the boats to the container ship.

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

Members of the ship's crew were arrested and are facing federal charges. However, no arrests were made during that bust.

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The complaint accuses the ship's second mate and another crew member of intentionally conspiring to possess a controlled substance on board a vessel subject to USA jurisdiction. Check out the tweets from the USA attorney below.

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.

Until now, traffickers didn't bother themselves with crews cooperation, they've been shipping cocaine in containers without crews, or ship's management, or ship's agents, involvement.

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.

Tuesday's seizure did not set a USA record.

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