PHILADELPHIA, CMC – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says it has collaborated with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in seizing a record amount of cocaine in a container ship with merchandise destined for Haiti.
CBP said that the contents of the shipping containers included wine, coated paperboard, vegetable extracts and dried nuts from Chile, carbon black from Colombia and scrap metal batteries from the United Arab Emirates.
CBP said the examination of the MSC Gayane, a 1,030-foot Liberian-flagged container ship, at the Philadelphia seaport netted the historic load of cocaine, the largest cocaine seizure in the 230-year history of US Customs and CBP, with an estimated weight of over 17.5 tons and a street value of about US$1.1 billion.
It said it seized the cocaine, as well as US$56,330 found on the vessel “believed to be proceeds from illegal activity” and that six persons had been arrested.
“This is momentous work by the CBP team at the Port of Philadelphia,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Their vigilance and inspectional scrutiny resulted in the interception of the largest seizure of cocaine in the 230 history of US Customs and Border Protection.
“Because of our officers’ efforts, over 1 billion dollars of dangerous narcotics was taken off the streets. I have no doubt that our officers saved lives and significantly impacted transnational criminal organizations with this interception,” he added.