Agents discover 1,185 pounds of cocaine during search at Philadelphia seaport

PHILADELPHIA — A search of imported shipping containers at the Philadelphia seaport led to the discovery of 1,185 pounds of cocaine Tuesday, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The search was conducted by several agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations, as well as partner agencies Homeland Security Joint Task Force-East, U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Philadelphia Police Department, Delaware State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Nether Providence Police Department, the Office of the Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, and the DEA’s Philadelphia Division.

Inside one of the containers offloaded from the MSC Desiree, authorities discovered 13 large black duffel bags containing a combined 450 bricks of a white powdery substance. A sampling of that substance tested positive for cocaine.

The cocaine weighed 537.6 kilograms, or 1,185 pounds, three ounces, and has a street value approximately $38 million.

CBP officers seized the cocaine.

HSI is investigating.

“Taking a half-ton of dangerous drugs out of circulation is a significant success for this collective team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers who work very hard every day to keep people safe,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.  “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners and to disrupting narcotics smuggling attempts at the Area Port of Philadelphia.”

This is CBP’s fourth largest cocaine seizure in the Area Port of Philadelphia, and the largest since a 1,945-pound cocaine seizure May 23, 1998.

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