An estimated US$1 billion in illegal narcotics was discovered on board a cargo vessel docked in Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 18.
Agents of the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Philadelphia, the US Coast Guard, the US Department of Homeland Security, and various local police departments boarded the containership MSC Gayane after receiving intelligence that the vessel was transporting drugs destined for the Netherlands.
Around 16.5 tonnes of cocaine was found in seven containers on board the vessel, which had docked at Philadelphia’s Packer Marine Terminal after having arrived from the Bahamas.
Local news outlets report MSC Gayane had also made port calls in Colombia, Panama, and Peru prior to sailing to the Bahamas.
The crew has since been arrested and charged in federal court for narcotics trafficking. The second mate and one other crewmember also face one count each of “conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship subject to US jurisdiction.”
US Attorney William M. McSwain has described the bust as “one of the largest drug seizures” in the country’s history.
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