Published: Wed, June 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

33000 pounds of cocaine seized in one of biggest U.S. drug busts

33000 pounds of cocaine seized in one of biggest U.S. drug busts

Cocaine remains one of the most widely used illegal drugs in the United States, where most of the world's cocaine is consumed, according to federal officials.

The owner of a container ship where US law enforcement officials say they found about 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms) worth of cocaine says it "takes this matter very seriously". A few members who were on the ship were charged according to statements from the U.S. Attorney's office.

An affidavit alleged that crew members helped load the cocaine onto the MSC Gayane while it was at sea off the west coast of South America. Check out the tweets from the USA attorney below.

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 U.S. jurisdiction. The bust took place at Packer Marine Terminal and involved seven shipping containers.

A major drug bust reported today by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as over 16 tons of cocaine have been seized off a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia.

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The amount of cocaine found on board could have claimed "millions" of lives if released on the black market, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William M. McSwain said in a tweet.

Online tracking data shows that the ship was sailing under a Liberian flag.

The company says it's grateful to authorities for "identifying any suspected abuse of its services".

The drugs have an estimated street value of over $1 billion, the office said. A 1989 bust in downtown Los Angeles netted nearly 43,000 pounds (19,504 kilograms) of the drug.

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