U.S. Customs seizes ship with 40,000 pounds of cocaine


U.S. Customs seized the MSC Gayane cargo ship, where over 40,000 pounds of cocaine was discovered last month. 

As Metro previously reported, the massive amount of drugs were found at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, which is the largest dock along the Delaware River. 

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials obtained a warrant to seize the MSC Gayane on the 4th of July, the AP reported.

Swiss firm Mediterranean Shipping Co. owns the cargo ship, which McSwain said is subject to possible forfeiture to the U.S. 

In a statement, McSwain said that “When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my Office and our agency partners will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district – and our country.”

Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore said in a statement that, “The MSC Gayane is the largest vessel seized in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 230-year history and follows the record seizure of almost 20-tons of cocaine discovered on the vessel,” McSwain said on Twitter that this cargo ship is about the size of two city blocks.

As of Monday afternoon, at least six crew members have been charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard the ship. A statement issued by the Department of Justice said, “crew members of the MSC Gayane 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.” 

Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia said in a statement that, “HSI, in collaboration with CBP, the Coast Guard, and our state and local law enforcement partners continue to aggressively work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to comprehensively investigate this case and bring to justice those who had roles in this drug smuggling venture.”

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