$1 Billion Worth Of Cocaine Seized In Historic Philadelphia Raid

Over 16 tons of cocaine seized at Delaware River shipping terminal in Philly could be largest drug bust is U.S. history

Federal authorities seized about 16½ tons of cocaine Tuesday from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, prosecutors said.

According to local media, the cocaine were seized late Monday.

The drugs were transferred in containers aboard the ship.

MSC said in a statement: "MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is aware of reports of an incident at the Port of Philadelphia in which United States authorities made a seizure of illicit cargo". His office estimated the value of the cocaine seized at more than US$1 billion.

Members of the ship's crew have reportedly been arrested and federally charged. Officials say seven containers on the cargo ship were carrying the drugs.

The seizure ranks among some of the largest in U.S. history including a bust of 21 tons of cocaine in California in 1989 and 14 tons of cocaine confiscated in Texas during the same year.

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In a 2018 report, the US Drug Enforcement Agency said that cocaine use in the US had continued to increase in 2016 and 2017, and that 93 percent of the drug distributed in the country comes from Colombia, while four percent is from Peru.

Investigators believe there is still a significant amount of cocaine remaining on the ship.

Another crew member, identified as Fonofaavae Tiasaga, also allegedly admitted to partaking in loading cocaine on the ship, including on a previous voyage, the complaint said.

Inspectors from Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration at the Port of New York/Newark searched the container on February 28 after noticing that its lock appeared to have been tampered with, law enforcement sources said. It wasn't clear if the drugs were headed to Europe or the U.S.

This will be the second bust of an MSC vessel at the Port of Philadelphia.

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