The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that a massive drug bust at the Port of Philadelphia has resulted in the seizure of 16.5 tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of over $1 billion.
It is the largest coke bust in history in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, CBS Philadelphia reported, and the third largest in U.S. history, a senior official at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) told CBS News.
The drug bust took place on a cargo ship identified as the MSC Gayane, that was docked at the port, officials confirmed. Several members of the ship’s crew have been arrested and federally charged by authorities.
— U.S. Attorney EDPA (@USAO_EDPA) June 18, 2019
“This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement on Twitter about the bust. “This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people. My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”
This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people. My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics. https://t.co/nWPfgpGqYa
— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) June 18, 2019
The Gayane had previously stopped in Colombia, Chile, Panama, and the Bahamas before ultimately making its way to Philadelphia.
Agents boarded the vessel and found the container they said was holding the drugs. They removed the container from the ship and took it to an undisclosed federal facility for analysis. Authorities will weigh the cocaine and look for other evidence that may be present, including DNA. Officials suspect that there may be more drugs in other containers on the ship. Customs agents are currently searching the ship’s other containers.