The Latest: 2 charged in huge cocaine bust at Philly port

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on a large seizure of cocaine from a container ship in Philadelphia (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

Two members of a container ship’s crew face federal drug charges after agents raided their vessel at a Philadelphia port and seized about 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms) of cocaine.

Court documents filed Tuesday charge Ivan Durasevic and Fonofaavae Tiasage with conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

An affidavit says the two crew members admitted they helped load cocaine onto the MSC Gayane while it was at sea. Agents say a total of 14 boats approached the vessel on two separate occasions. Crew members allegedly helped transfer bales of cocaine from the boats to the container ship.

An online court docket does not list defense attorneys for the defendants.

Federal prosecutors call it one of the largest cocaine seizures in U.S. history.


5:55 p.m.

The owner of a container ship where U.S. law enforcement officials say they found about 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms) worth of cocaine says it “takes this matter very seriously.”

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. said Tuesday in a statement that it has a “longstanding history of cooperating” with law enforcement agencies to target drug traffickers.

Federal agents raided the MSC Gayane on Tuesday and seized the cocaine from the Swiss-owned company’s ship.

The U.S. attorney’s office says it’s one of the largest drug busts in American history.

Members of the crew were arrested and face federal charges.

The company says it’s grateful to authorities for “identifying any suspected abuse of its services.”


4:10 p.m.

U.S. authorities have seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine from a ship at a Philadelphia port, calling it one of the largest drug busts in American history.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia announced the massive bust on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. Officials said agents seized about 16.5 tons (15 metric tons) of cocaine from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a tweet that so much cocaine “could kill millions — MILLIONS — of people.”

The drug seizure is the latest in a series of large cocaine busts along the East Coast.

Authorities say members of the ship’s crew have been arrested and charged.

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