Multi-million Rand narcotics seizure at Port Elizabeth harbour

PRETORIA – More than R85 million worth of narcotics was seized at Port Elizabeth Harbour (Ngqura Port) over the weekend following an intelligence-driven multi-disciplinary integrated operation by the Ports of Entry team on a vessel from Ecuador, South America.

The operation was conducted from intelligence that two containers were suspected of having narcotics on board.

The suspected containers were on-board a vessel that had docked in Port Elizabeth at the Ngqura Port. The team which included Customs Investigations, the K9 unit and SAPS Border Police, were duly activated and the process initiated to trace and secure the two containers.

The inter-agency teams worked together and ensured that the targeted containers were removed to the container depot and upon opening the containers it was found that the contents were bananas as described on the bill of lading and which also indicated that the container was destined for Cape Town.

The cartons of bananas were physically checked both inside and outside of the container.  Upon inspecting the rear refrigeration unit, a hidden compartment was discovered.

Upon removing some of the panelling the team discovered packages wrapped in brown tape. The panelling was removed and a total of 40 packages, which tested positive for cocaine, were discovered in both the containers. Further profiling was conducted and discovered that there were a further two (2) containers that were linked to the product type and packaging methodology on the same vessel.  The team immediately decided to secure the containers. In the early hours of Sunday morning at around 01:00, the sniffer dog reacted positively to the same rear refrigeration panelling as the previous two containers earlier.  All role players jointly then removed the panelling and discovered a further 45 bricks wrapped in brown packaging tape which tested positive for cocaine with an estimated weight of 45 kilograms in both containers. A total of 85 bricks with an approximate weight of 85 kilograms and an estimated street value of R85 Million were seized. 

High levels of collaboration between stakeholders at the port have once again paid off.

There have been breakthroughs made as a result of the on-going proactive fight against crime especially the proliferation of drugs coming into and through the port.  Investigations are continuing.

Source: saps.gov.za

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U.S. seizes $1 billion worth of cocaine from ship in Philadelphia

(Reuters) – Federal authorities seized 16.5 tons of cocaine worth more than $1 billion from a ship in Philadelphia in one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agents on Monday boarded the MSC Gayane, a cargo ship docked in Philadelphia’s Packer Marine Terminal, and found cocaine in seven shipping containers, according to a criminal complaint filed in Philadelphia federal court.

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Source: reuters.com

Coastguard Seizes Boat with 600 kilos of Cocaine in Waters of the Caribbean Sea

Authorities presume that the vessel was heading towards the coasts of Limón.

Patrols of the National Coastguard Service (SNG) captured in the Caribbean Sea, 27 nautical miles (about 50 kilometers) from the coast of Limón, a boat in which three people transported 600 kilos of cocaine and 14 kilos of marijuana.

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Source: maritimeherald.com

AMO Crew Makes $76M Drug Interdictions

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Over a two-day period, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents from Air and Marine Operations (AMO) foiled an international attempt to smuggle nearly three-tons of cocaine across open waters between Feb. 28 and Mar. 2.

These efforts resulted in the capture of three suspects, the interception of the illicit narcotics valued at $76,456,839 and the seizure of two vessels.

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Source: conservativedailynews.com

Limon: The New Gateway Port For Cocaine Leaving Costa Rica

By Carol Vaughn

Limon has long had a reputation as a remote Costa Rican port handling exports of of pineapples, bananas, sugar, coffee, and … cocaine.

While the nearby Port of Moin has undergone a complete expansion and renovation recently, including brand new scanning technology, Limon has been left behind — but not by astute drug smugglers.

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Source: news.co.cr

Authorities Seize 3,200 Pounds of Cocaine at Port Newark

On February 28, a joint federal and state task force seized 1.5 tons of cocaine at the Port of New York and New Jersey’s Port Newark terminals. It was a small amount relative to the multi-ton hauls the Coast Guard confiscates in interdictions at sea, but it was still a success, marking the largest seizure of its kind at Port Newark in 25 years. 

According to the New York Times, the find occurred by chance when inspectors were examining containers from the vessel MSC Carlotta, which had just arrived from Colombia. One container’s seals showed signs of tampering, and when officers opened its doors, they found sixty packages containing about 3,200 pounds of cocaine. The shipment has an estimated street value of $77 million.

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Source: maritime-executive.com