According to FOX6NOW, U.S. authorities in Philadelphia seized a cargo vessel with nearly 20 tons of cocaine on board in June. As it turns out, the ship is owned by banking giant JPMorgan Chase.
On Wednesday, July 10, a source close to the situation said the ship, the MSC Gayane, is part of a transportation strategy fund run for the asset management unit of the bank.
That means that JPMorgan Chase has no operational control of the ship, a Liberian-flagged ship run by the Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company. The bank had no comment.
On June 17, law enforcement officers boarded the MSC Gayane and found cocaine, which is said to have a street value of about $1.3 billion.
At that time, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency had just seized he drugs.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced it had issued a warrant on July 4 that allowed the CBP to take custody of the ship.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain said that the seizure of this big ship is complicated and unprecedented—but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented.
In a statement on June 18, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said that shipping and logistics companies are occasionally affected by trafficking problems. MSC said, “MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.”
Casey Durst, the CBP’s director of field operations in Baltimore added that it is unusual for CBP to seize a ship of this size.
Casey Durst added, “But is indicative of the serious consequences associated with an alleged conspiracy by crewmembers and others to smuggle a record load of dangerous drugs through the United States.”
MSC revealed that it is cooperating with law enforcement and is not an investigation target of the U.S. government in an update on Tuesday.
At the time it was seized the vessel was en route to northern Europe, and that aside from the containers held by United States authorities, the rest of the cargo has been sent along to the original destinations of the other MSC ships, MSC said.
Aside from a small number of containers held by the authorities as part of the investigation, MSC Gayane’s remaining shipments have been transferred to other vessels and sent on to their respective destinations, MSC said.