Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have seized a container ship operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Co. and owned by JPMorgan Asset Management., weeks after authorities discovered extra than $1 billion worth of cocaine on the vessel in what was one of the biggest drug busts in American historical past.
US Customs and Border Protection seized the ship on July 4, a statement out Monday stated. The ship is owned by consumer property in a maritime technique provided by JPMorgan Asset Management, in keeping with an individual conversant in the matter. It is operated by the Switzerland-based MSC.
On June 18, CBP brokers found 39,525 pounds of cocaine stashed in a number of containers on the MSC Gayane on the Philadelphia seaport. The avenue worth of the drugs was estimated at about $1.3 billion, making it the largest cocaine seizure by the company.
“A seizure of a vessel this huge is difficult and unprecedented – however it is suitable as a result of the circumstances right here are additionally unprecedented,” stated US Attorney William McSwain. “We discovered practically 20 tons of cocaine hidden on this ship.”
At least a half a dozen crew members have been arrested, in keeping with Homeland Security Investigations, and the investigation is ongoing. Charges included conspiracy to own cocaine aboard a ship.
The Gayane sailed below the flag of Liberia and had beforehand traveled by way of the Bahamas and a number of South American international locations, according to an online ship tracker.
JPMorgan declined to remark. Mediterranean Shipping Co. didn’t instantly reply to an e mail inquiry.