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US Customs Seized JP Morgan Chase Ship Carrying $1Billion Of Cocaine (#GotBitcoin?)

U.S. Seizes MSC Container Ship After Record Drug Bust. US Customs Seized JP Morgan Chase Ship Carrying $1Billion Of Cocaine (#GotBitcoin?)

US Customs Seized JP Morgan Chase Ship Carrying $1Billion Of Cocaine (#GotBitcoin?)

 

MSC Gayane could be taken over by authorities after 20 tons of cocaine were found in containers Philadelphia port.

U.S. authorities have seized a large container ship operated by Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., three weeks after customs authorities found 20 tons of cocaine on the vessel.

The MSC Gayane, which is owned by J.P. Morgan Asset Management and chartered to MSC, the world’s second-biggest container ship operator by capacity, is “subject to possible forfeiture,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement.

Built in 2018, the ship has capacity for around 10,000 containers and is worth about $90 million. It is anchored at the Delaware River near the Philadelphia port and is expected to stay there for an extended period, according to people involved in the matter.

”A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented—but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented,” Mr. McSwain said. “When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my office will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district—and our country.”

The Gayane was raided on June 17 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who found about 20 tons of cocaine with a street value of $1.3 billion stashed in several containers. The ship had sailed from Freeport in the Bahamas and before that it called in Panama and Peru after starting its voyage in Chile. It was due to sail on to Europe after the U.S. stop.

“MSC remains grateful to the government officials in the U.S. for their proactive work and has offered its continued support, building on a longstanding track record of good cooperation with the authorities,” an MSC spokesman said in a statement. “MSC is assisting and cooperating with the authorities as required and the company is not the target of any investigation.”

Eight crew members from Serbia and Samoa were arrested and several have been charged in the case, the people involved said. They said the ship’s second officer and another crew member were charged with helping bring the cocaine aboard the vessel.

The Gayane was the second MSC ship raided in Philadelphia this year for drug movement. In March, federal agents discovered nearly 1,200 pounds of cocaine onboard the MSC Desiree, a similar size vessel to the Gayane.

US Customs Seized JP Morgan Chase Ship Carrying $1Billion Of Cocaine (#GotBitcoin?)

Customs agents also seized 1.6 tons of cocaine on another MSC vessel, the MSC Carlotta, as it entered the Port of Newark, N.J., in February, authorities said.

After the two incidents, the customs agency has temporarily suspended MSC’s Customs-Trade Partnership certification, which means the liner is no longer regarded “low risk” and its cargo is subject to more scrutiny..

MSC said its shipping customers can expect minimal disruption from the suspension and cargo from the Gayane has been transferred to other vessels and moved to end users.

Ship executives, maritime lawyers and brokers said the case is unprecedented for the scale and age of the vessel.

“Historically, ships involved in criminal activity are older and beaten up,” said Basil Karatzas, chief executive of New-York-based Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co. “It is strange that such a modern and expensive vessel is involved in such a blatantly criminal case, like moving 20 tons of cocaine.”

Global maritime regulation doesn’t require ocean carriers to check the contents of all containers they move as this would lead to long delays across supply chains.

The world’s second-largest container shipping company faces a major loss as a result of one of the biggest drug hauls ever at a maritime port. U.S. authorities are considering whether to seek the forfeiture of the Mediterranean Shipping Co. vessel seized at the Port of Philadelphia, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Costas Paris writes.

The MSC Gayane is being held following last month’s seizure of some 20 tons of cocaine with a street value of $1.3 billion. Remaining containers have been transferred to other vessels for delivery to customers. With capacity for about 10,000 shipping containers and a value of about $90 million, the Gayane would mark a significant loss for MSC and ship owner J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Drug seizures on cargo vessels aren’t exactly rare—two other MSC ships were found with illicit shipments in the U.S. earlier this year but the ships moved on. Prosecutors are treating this case differently.

US Customs Seized JP Morgan Chase Ship Carrying $1Billion Of Cocaine (#GotBitcoin?)

Arresting A Ship

* Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have seized a container ship operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Co. and owned by JPMorgan Asset Management.

* That came weeks after authorities found more than $1 billion worth of cocaine on the vessel in what was one of the largest drug busts in American history.

* At least half a dozen crew members have been arrested, according to Homeland Security Investigations, and the investigation is ongoing.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have seized a container ship operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Co., weeks after authorities found more than $1 billion worth of cocaine on the vessel in what was one of the largest drug busts in American history.

US Customs and Border Protection seized the ship on July 4, a statement out Monday said. The ship is owned by client assets in a maritime strategy offered by JPMorgan Asset Management, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is operated by the Switzerland-based MSC.

On June 17, border agents found 39,525 pounds of cocaine stashed in several containers on the MSC Gayane at the Philadelphia seaport. The street value of the drugs was estimated at about $1.3 billion, making it the largest cocaine seizure by the agency.

“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented — but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented,” US Attorney William McSwain said. “We found nearly 20 tons of cocaine hidden on this ship.”

At least half a dozen crew members have been arrested, according to Homeland Security Investigations, and the investigation is ongoing. Charges included conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship.

The Gayane sailed under the flag of Liberia and had previously traveled through the Bahamas and several South American countries, according to an online ship tracker.

JPMorgan declined to comment. Mediterranean Shipping Co. did not immediately respond to an email inquiry. US Customs Seized JP, US Customs Seized JP, US Customs Seized JP,

Updated: 7-14-2019

U.S. Releases Container Ship Found With 20 Tons of Cocaine

Authorities say they are still weighing forfeiture proceedings against the MSC Gayane after a combined $50 million in cash and a surety bond were posted.

U.S. authorities have released a container ship that was seized with 20 tons of cocaine in Philadelphia after the operator posted a $50 million bond, including $10 million in cash, but said they still plan to consider seeking forfeiture of the vessel.

The release of the MSC Gayane, owned by J.P. Morgan Asset Management and chartered to Mediterranean Shipping Co., means the ship can resume commercial operations after being held at the Port of Philadelphia for nearly a month.

“My office secured $10 million in cash and a $40 million surety bond from the owner and operator of the vessel in exchange for its temporary release pending a final resolution in this case,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain wrote in a post on Twitter.

The ship, which is worth around $90 million, is still subject to possible forfeiture if the probe links senior crew members with the cocaine haul, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Gayane was raided on June 17 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, who found cocaine that authorities said had a street value of $1.3 billion stuffed in several containers. The ship was formally seized on July 9. Eight crew members have been charged in connection with the raid and remain in custody.

“MSC has arranged the payments, and the ship, plus 16 crew that had not been charged, were let go,” a person involved in the matter said. “The federal government is still building a forfeiture case, but the $50 million was deemed enough to let the Gayane go for now.”

The ship departed the Philadelphia port Saturday and was on its way to Rotterdam for a return to commercial service. A spokesman for MSC said the company continues to cooperate with U.S. authorities.

The ship was making its only stop in the U.S. at the time of the raid after starting its journey in Chile and stopping in Peru, Panama and the Bahamas on its way to Europe.

The Gayane was the second MSC ship raided in Philadelphia this year for drug movement. In March, federal agents discovered nearly 1,200 pounds of cocaine onboard the MSC Desiree, a similar-size vessel to the Gayane

Customs agents also seized 1.6 tons of cocaine on another MSC vessel, the MSC Carlotta, as it entered the Port of Newark, N.J., in February, authorities said.

Global maritime regulation doesn’t require ocean carriers to check the contents of all containers they move as this would lead to long delays across supply chains.

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