Record cocaine bust in Philadelphia
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/19/19, 11:16 am
Law enforcement officials seized 33,000 pounds of cocaine Tuesday from a container ship at the port of Philadelphia, the largest U.S. cocaine bust in three decades. The drugs, found in containers on the MSC Gayane, were potentially worth more than $1 billion on the street, officials said. “This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions—MILLIONS—of people,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain tweeted.
Court documents revealed that smaller boats approached the ship at different times while it was off the coast of South America, and some crew members smuggled the cocaine aboard. The vessel arrived in the United States on Monday under the Liberian flag. The ship previously stopped at ports in Colombia, Peru, and Panama, according to online trackers. Colombia is the largest supplier of cocaine to the United States.
Two crew members face charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship. It’s unclear as to whether other crewmen will be charged.
The U.S. record for the largest cocaine bust goes to a 1989 operation that collected more than 21 tons of the drug in Los Angeles.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.