A cargo ship with 16.5 tons of more than $ 1 billion cocaine that it had seized in Philadelphia in one of the largest drug infections in US history is owned by JP Morgan and has emerged.
The $ 90 million MSC Gayane is owned by a transport strategy fund managed by the bank giant's asset manager, a resource that is being confirmed.
JP Morgan is deemed to have no operational control and the ship is chartered to the Swiss Shipping Company based in Switzerland.
In what was the largest cocaine compound in US customs history, 35,000 pounds of cocaine was seized by federal officials from a ship in Philadelphia harbor in June.
The drugs were seized by the Packer Marine Terminal from freight containers aboard the MSC Gayane, who arrived there after a port call in Colombia on May 19.
The ships also made stops in Peru, Panama and the Bahamas before reaching the port of Philadelphia.
At least six crew members from Serbia and Samoa have been accused of conspiring to have cocaine on board a ship. The federal investigation continues.
Cranes unload the MSC Gayane cargo ship after the US authorities seized more than 16 tons of cocaine at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 18. The MSC Gayane is owned by JP Morgan, since then it has emerged
Some of the 35,000 pounds of cocaine that US customs and border surveillance and home security investigations seized in seven sea containers at the MSC Gayane
The MSC Gayane is owned by a transport strategy fund that is managed by the asset manager of the bank giant, a source that is being confirmed. The police guard the cocaine seized by the ship
JP Morgan is not deemed to have operational control and the ship has been hired from the Swiss Shipping Company based in Switzerland. The head office in New York is shown
& # 39; This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people & # 39 ;, said US lawyer William McSwain on Twitter at the time.
DailyMail.com contacted JPMorgan, who declined to comment.
The American attorney William McSwain, whose office handles the prosecutions, confirmed that MSC is a Swiss-based shipping company and one of & # 39; the world's largest shipping container companies.
Officials first confiscated the drugs alone, but Monday it was announced that a warrant had been issued on July 4, allowing customs officers and border guards to exercise authority over the ship itself.
Last month, MSC said in a statement: & # 39; Unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are affected from time to time by human trafficking issues.
COCAINE BUSTS ALONG THE EAST COAST
Gayane is at least the third ship in the Mediterranean Shipping Company fleet to be raided by the US authorities this year.
In February, customs brokers retrieved the largest load of cocaine intercepted in the port of Newark, New Jersey, in almost 25 years – around 3,200 pounds or 1,451 pounds – from a container on board the MSC Carlotta.
In March, law enforcement agencies sought a container from the MSC Desiree in the Port of Philadelphia and found 13 large duffel bags filled with 1,185 pounds, or 538 pounds of cocaine. At the time, it was the largest cocaine capture in the port in more than 20 years.
Experts say that the boom in the cocaine trade is fueled by oversupply in Colombia, where the efforts for eradication have been lax in recent years.
The dangerous combination of cocaine with the powerful opioid fentanyl in a modern speedball also creates a huge new demand.
In Philadelphia, fentanyl was detected in one third of all cocaine-related deaths from overdoses in 2017, a dramatic increase from the previous year, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
& # 39; MSC has a long history of working with US federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal drug trafficking. & # 39;
It said Tuesday that it is not a target of the investigation.
The drugs were hidden in seven sea containers on board the ship and when agents opened the containers, they saw the drugs in bags, an official said.
McSwain said: & # 39; You thought you could go to our port and leave with enough cocaine to destroy millions of lives without getting caught. You thought you were smart. You were wrong.
& # 39; You have underestimated the city, you have underestimated our law enforcement capabilities, and you have underestimated our dedication to decimating bad and immoral drug trafficking. & # 39;
Authorities boarded the ship for routine screening, and discovered anomalies during the investigation of seven containers on board, they said.
Agents escorted the ship to his berth in Philadelphia and a full investigation of drug-sniffing dogs and an X-ray scanner led to the discovery of the colossal cocaine stop.
According to a criminal complaint, MSC Gayne's second mate told investigators that after the ship left Peru, he saw nets near the ship's crane with bags, and that he and four others had hoisted the bags onto the ship and loaded them into containers . ABC news. He said he had promised $ 50,000 to handle the load.
It is unclear whether the seized drugs were intended for the US or Europe, but the ship was on its way to northern Europe when it was raided.
Under heavy surveillance, federal agents displayed the thousands of pounds of cocaine seized during a briefing in Philadelphia & # 39; s Custom House last month.
The drugs were seized at the Packer Marine Terminal from freight containers aboard the MSC Gayane, who arrived there after making a port call in Colombia on 19 May.
The drugs were hidden in seven sea containers on board the ship and when agents opened the containers, they saw the drugs in bags, an official said
Authorities boarded the ship for routine screening, and discovered anomalies during the investigation of seven containers on board, they said
Cardboard boxes were stacked higher than the agents they were guarding, and piles of stones wrapped in green and blue and numbered were stacked in neat pyramids in the foyer of the building.
James Carroll, director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the Trump government is committed to hunting drug traffickers and bringing them to justice.
"Make no mistake, we will use every means available to us to find these traffickers and once we have them in custody we will adopt the fullest law that is possible," he said. & # 39; We must never forget to help our fellow citizens who struggle with addiction and need help. & # 39;
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