Feds Seize 16.5 Tons Of Cocaine In Historic Philadelphia Drug Bust

Feds Seize 16.5 Tons Of Cocaine In Historic Philadelphia Drug Bust”

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. said Tuesday in a statement that it has a "longstanding history of cooperating" with law enforcement agencies to target drug traffickers.

It is the largest coke bust in history in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, CBS Philadelphia reported, and the third largest in USA history, a senior official at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) told CBS News.

When agents opened up the containers they saw the drugs in bags, the official said.

Two crew members were charged with breaking federal maritime drug trafficking laws.

According to court filings, the men helped haul dozens of bales of cocaine aboard from at least 14 smaller boats that approached the Gayane while going back and forth to Peru. However, photos of the drug bust suggest the name of the vessel is MSC Gayane.

Another huge drug raid went down in February, when customs agents seized 3,200 pounds of cocaine at the Port of NY and New Jersey totaling about $77 million - the largest bust at a port since 1994. The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia announced the massive bust on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

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.

More than $1 billion worth of cocaine was seized by federal authorities at a Philadelphia port Tuesday.

The ship was headed from Chile to Europe when it stopped in Philadelphia.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a tweet that so much cocaine "could kill millions - MILLIONS - of people". The illicit cargo had a street value of $77 million, making it the largest cocaine seizure in the area for a quarter century. Shipping records showed the ship arrived in port early Monday morning.

The cargo ship owner Mediterranean Shipping Company said in a statement that it was aware of the incident and that it has a history of working with United States law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.

The US Attorney's Office estimates the street value at more than $1 billion.

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