Seized Cargo Ship Carrying 20 Tons of Cocaine Owned by JPMorgan Chase

Authorities seized a cargo ship carrying nearly 20 tons of cocaine in Philadelphia last month. According to CNN Business, the vessel, happens to be owned by a fund run by banking giant, JPMorgan Chase.

A source told the outlet that the ship, operated by Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company and named the MSC Gayane, is a transportation strategy fund managed by the bank’s asset management unit. This meaning that while the JPMorgan Chase company may own the ship, “it does not have any operational control of the vessel.”

JPMorgan Chase did not return PEOPLE’s request for a comment.

Law enforcement agents discovered the the cocaine on June 17 after searching through the cargo hold on the ship. Authorities estimate the 30,000 pounds of cocaine found at the Philadelphia ship port has an approximate street value of over $1 billion.

At the time of the initial seizure, only the cocaine was taken from the vessel by the CBP, but later on, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania made the decision to capture the ship itself. The state attorney’s office confirmed to PEOPLE that a warrant was issued on July 4 for the office to take custody of the ship.

“Federal authorities have seized approximately 16.5 TONS of cocaine from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia,” the U.S. Attorney EDPA tweeted following the seizure. “This is the largest drug seizure in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”

In a separate tweet, the attorney’s office revealed that several members of the ship’s crew had been arrested and federally charged, with an investigation currently underway.

 

In a statement on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s website, the government organization stated that The JP Morgan Chase-linked MSC Gayane ship is now the largest vessel to be seized in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 230-year history.

“This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people,” U.S. EDPA Attorney William M. McSwain tweeted. “My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) released a statement following the June seizure which read, “unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems. MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.”

According to the MSC, the ship was on its way to the northern Europe at the time of the seizure. Prior to the ship’s stop in Philadelphia, MSC Gayane’s ports of call were in the Bahamas on June 13, Panama on June 9, Peru on May 24 and Colombia on May 19, according to online ship tracking records.

A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania told PEOPLE that the case has been sealed by the court, and could not confirm the vessel’s ownership at this time.


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