Unusual Increase In Cocaine Traffic At Atlantic Ports In The US

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The DEA had already warned of the increase in the movement of drugs before the historic seizure this week.

There were 15,000 kilos (33,000 pounds). An “unusual” amount of cocaine, according to the Philadelphia Drug Enforcement Administration’s spokesman, Patrick Trainor. The authorities calculate that they could generate a billion dollars in street sales.

The finding of such cargo last week comes as a new indication that traffickers are appealing to US ports on the Atlantic to bring drugs to the United States by increasing controls on the border with Mexico, as the Administration had already pointed out, known by its acronym in English, DEA, in its latest published assessment of the dangers to national security.

It was the third time that a large shipment of this drug was detected in Philadelphia or New York since February.

“When we focus on one site, they appear in another, we see it all the time,” said Nicholas Magliocca, a researcher at the University of Alabama who studies the way traffickers adapt to changing authorities’ strategies.

“As long as there is demand and money can be made, the traffickers will find a way” to get the drugs, says the researcher.

Cocaine use and overdose deaths are increasing in the United States after years of decline as production reached record levels in Colombia, the source of 90% of the cocaine circulating in the United States.

The agents carried out last Wednesday another inspection of thousands of containers at the MSC Gayane, a cargo ship of the Swiss firm MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., but they did not find any more cocaine in the boat where the previous Monday they found the 15,000 kilos, according to with what Stephen Sapp, spokesman for the Office of Customs and Border Protection in Philadelphia, said.

Two crew members were charged with possession of cocaine. Later it was learned that there were up to six men arrested.

The authorities confiscated 538 kilograms (1,185 pounds) of cocaine worth about $ 38 million in March.

The previous month they had confiscated 1,451 kilos (3,200 pounds) in the port of New York, with a retail value of about $ 77 million.

A sworn statement obtained by the Associated Press indicated that the MSC Gayane was in Pacific waters in South America when dozens of boats with cocaine approached him.

Increase In Cocaine Traffic At Atlantic Ports In The US

The crew of the freighter helped to load the drug, according to the authorities. One man said that the first officer of the ship paid him to make the transfer from the smaller boats.

The ship anchored in Colombia, Peru, Panama and the Bahamas before arriving in Philadelphia early Monday. Federal agents raided the ship that same day. The second in command was arrested because officers examined his hands and found traces of cocaine, according to the text.

“The 500 kilos we detected in March was a good catch, very good,” said Trainor, agent of the DEA. “But, was that a big loss for the posters? Probably not, now, 15,000 kilos? That really hurts, I’m sure someone is feeling very bad somewhere in South America.”

 

Source: La Prensa Grafica