Topline: In one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history, federal authorities in Philadelphia seized nearly 20 tons of cocaine—worth about $1 billion— last month from a ship owned by JP Morgan’s asset management arm.
- 19.76 tons of cocaine (that’s an estimated street value of $1.3 billion, according toBusiness Insider) were seized from the ship when it arrived at Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia on June 17.
- The ship, named MSC Gayane, is operated by Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, but it was financed by a transportation strategy fund run by JP Morgan’s asset management arm. The ship is leased out to MSC.
- Six crew members aboard MSC Gayane have been arrested and charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine, the Justice Department said in a statement.
- The ship was flying under the flag of Liberia, a country in West Africa, according to online vessel tracking website MarineTraffic.
JP Morgan declined to comment.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a tweet that the sheer amount of cocaine could have killed “millions” of people. A federal criminal investigation into the alleged smuggling operating is ongoing.
“This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions—MILLIONS—of people. My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics,” the tweet reads.