US issues seizure warrant on drug-carrying cargo ship

Image: AP
Image: AP

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has executed a seizure warrant obtained by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and seized the cargo vessel MSC Gayane as being subject to possible forfeiture to the United States, the US Department of Justice said in a statement on Monday, July 8.

On June 17, 2019, federal, state, and local law enforcement agents boarded MSC Gayane when it arrived at Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia and seized nearly 18 tonnes of cocaine. Since that time, the vessel’s crew members have been charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring with each other and others to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

As a result of this seizure, the vessel has been placed under the custody of the CBP and shall remain so until further proceedings or order of US federal court.

Measuring 314 by 48 metres, MSC Gayane is the largest vessel seized by US customs authorities. The 18 tonnes of drugs found on board also count as one of the largest one-time narcotics seizures by the US government.

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