Feds Seize Cargo Ship Owned by JP Morgan After $1.3 Billion Cocaine Seizure

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials seized the MSC Gayane on July 4 after the record seizure of 20 tons of cocaine on June 17. (Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Federal authorities seized a large cargo ship in Philadelphia in a failed 20-ton cocaine smuggling attempt valued at more than $1.3 billion. The Liberian flagged vessel is reportedly owned by JP Morgan Asset Management.

The seizure took place this week when the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection formally seized the MSC Gayane, after prosecutors filed a series of court documents. The ship is owned by JP Morgan Asset Management and chartered to the container ship operator MSC, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented – but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented.  We found nearly 20 tons of cocaine hidden on this ship,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain. “When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my Office and our agency partners will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district – and our country.”

The seizure comes weeks after a June 17 raid on board the ship when federal state and local authorities found 19.76 tons of cocaine, Breitbart News reported. The ship is the largest of its kind ever seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the agency’s history, the amount of seized drugs is also considered record-setting.

The ship initially sailed from Chile and had stopped at Peru, Panama, and the Bahamas before sailing to Philadelphia. Authorities arrested and charged eight of the crew members with drug trafficking conspiracy, while the investigation is ongoing. The men are described as Serbian and Samoan.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.

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