The agency called the seizure of the 10,776-TEU MSC Gayane the largest in its 230-year history.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it has seized the Mediterranean Shipping Co. containership involved in the June 17 record 20-ton cocaine seizure in the Port of Philadelphia.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued the warrant to seize the 10,776-TEU MSC Gayane. CBP carried out the seizure on Thursday.
“The MSC Gayane is the largest vessel seized in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 230-year history and follows the record seizure of almost 20 tons of cocaine discovered on the vessel,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s director of field operations in Baltimore, in a statement.
CBP rarely seizes cargo ships. However, Durst said the move was “indicative of the serious consequences associated with an alleged conspiracy by crew members and others to smuggle a record load of dangerous drugs through the United States.”
On June 17, the CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led a multiagency team that discovered the seven containers carrying up to 39,525 pounds of cocaine. The drugs have a street value of about $1.3 billion.