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Philadelphia shipping container seizure nets $1B cocaine bust

By Danielle Haynes

June 18 (UPI) -- Law enforcement officials seized shipping containers full of $1 billion worth of cocaine from a port in Philadelphia on Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said the confiscated drugs weighed 16.5 tons, the largest drug seizure in the district's history. The bust took place at Packer Marine Terminal and involved seven shipping containers.

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"This amount of cocaine could kill millions -- MILLIONS -- of people," U.S. Attorney William McSwain tweeted. "My office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics."

A senior law enforcement official told WCAU-TV in Philadelphia that the ship that carried the containers, the Liberian-flagged MSC Gayane, previously stopped in the Bahamas, Chile, Columbia and Panama. It's unclear where the drugs were loaded onto the ship.

Authorities arrested members of the ship's crew, who face federal drug trafficking charges.

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