During a midstream joint boarding Sunday night, CBP, HSI, and U.S. Coast Guard authorities detected anomalies while examining seven shipping containers aboard the MSC Gayane, a 1,030-foot Liberian-flagged container ship. The boarding team escorted the ship to its berth in South Philadelphia and continued its inspection.
The containers were unloaded from the vessel Monday afternoon and CBP confirmed the presence of anomalies. CBP escorted the containers to CBP’s Centralized Examination Station, where CBP officers offloaded truckloads of packages from the containers.
A combined 15,582 bricks, totaling more than 35,000 pounds of a white, powdery substance, which tested positive for cocaine. CBP seized the cocaine as well as $56,330 found on the vessel believed to be proceeds from illegal activity. A multi-agency team continues to inspect containers aboard the vessel.
“This week’s cocaine seizure is a tremendous accomplishment that demonstrates the combined power of HSI’s collaboration with CBP, the Coast Guard and our state and local law enforcement partners,” said Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “Narcotics smuggling continues to pose a real and tangible threat to our communities, particularly when such activities are perpetuated by the crewmembers of a commercial vessel, as alleged in this investigation. HSI will continue to vigorously pursue investigations that target drug trafficking organizations engaged in the worldwide smuggling of dangerous narcotics.”
“The combined expertise, readiness, and responsiveness of this joint law enforcement team shows how training and cooperation prevents contraband from entering our ports and harming our communities,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and Captain of the Port. “The seamless coordination between Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, Coast Guard Investigative Services, Maritime Safety and Security Team New York, Coast Guard Stations Cape May and Philadelphia, and Joint Task Force-East, working alongside our federal, state, and local partners, amplifies our ability to interdict contraband on both the open seas and in our ports.”
The contents of the shipping containers included wine, coated paperboard, vegetable extracts, and dried nuts from Chile, carbon black from Colombia, and scrap metal batteries from United Arab Emirates. They were destined to Ireland, Nigeria, South Africa, Lebanon, India, and Haiti.