Customs agents have seized the biggest shipment of cocaine recovered at the ports of New York and New Jersey in 25 years.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says 3,200 pounds of the drug in 60 packages were seized at Port New York/Newark on Feb. 28. The street value is estimated at $77 million.

It’s the biggest cocaine seizure at the ports since 1994.

“This is a significant seizure, in fact it is the largest cocaine seizure at the Port of New York/Newark since May 1994” said Troy Miller, Director, New York Field Operations.  “The ongoing partnership between CBP, USCG, HSI, DEA, NYPD, and NYSP continues to produce results that protect the American public.  This interception prevents a massive quantity of drugs from getting to the streets and in the hands of our children.”

This Feb. 28, 2019 photo provided by U. S. Customs and Border Protection shows a truck containing 3,200 pounds of cocaine in 60 packages, where it was seized at the Port of New York/Newark, in Newark, N. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)
This Feb. 28, 2019 photo provided by U. S. Customs and Border Protection shows a truck containing 3,200 pounds of cocaine in 60 packages, where it was seized at the Port of New York/Newark, in Newark, N. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)

A Customs spokesman says the container was recovered from a ship that originated in South America.

Customs officers turned the drugs over to federal Homeland Security officials for investigation.

“Transnational Criminal Organizations rely upon illicit networks throughout the world to supply, transport, and distribute cocaine and other dangerous drugs,” said Brian Michael, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark.  “HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force in Newark, comprised of CBP, Waterfront Commission of NY Harbor Police, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Port Authority Police Department, and Dover Police Department working together, strengthened by HSI’s international partnerships and DHS’s combined assets, play a critical role in disrupting the worldwide cocaine chain.”

This Feb. 28, 2019 photo provided by U. S. Customs and Border Protection shows a truck, left, containing 3,200 pounds of cocaine in 60 packages, where it was seized at the Port of New York/Newark, in Newark, N. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)
This Feb. 28, 2019 photo provided by U. S. Customs and Border Protection shows a truck, left, containing 3,200 pounds of cocaine in 60 packages, where it was seized at the Port of New York/Newark, in Newark, N. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)

“Cocaine, New York’s nemesis of the 90’s, is back-indicating traffickers push to build an emerging customer base of users mixing cocaine with fentanyl,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.  “This record breaking seizure draws attention to this new threat and shows law enforcement’s collaborative efforts in seizing illicit drugs before it gets to the streets and into users’ hands.”

“Successes such as this seizure are a testament to the importance of our partnerships and our ability to work together to keep our ports and our communities safe,” said Capt. Jason Tama, Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and commander Sector New York.

NYSP Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “The dedication of law enforcement has once again resulted in a massive seizure of deadly drugs. I applaud our partners for the hard work that kept this dangerous substance from our streets. Not only did this interception save lives, but it also put an end to the violence often associated with drugs and drug trafficking. This is a crime we will not tolerate, and one we will continue to fight with our partners in law enforcement.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, “The proliferation of illegal drugs in New York City will never be tolerated, neither by law enforcement nor by the people we serve.  The NYPD and its law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying and stopping all illegal narcotics by attacking their distribution networks on every level. Through significant seizures such as this, we will continue to make every neighborhood in our nation’s safest large city even safer.”

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