Cargo ship loaded with cocaine owned by JPMorgan

The cargo ship belonging to JPMorgan containing tonnes of cocaine was seized at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia last month. (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: US customs authorities have found that a cargo ship loaded with almost 20 tonnes of cocaine seized last month in Philadelphia is owned by investment bank JPMorgan Chase, reported Xinhua news agency.

The ship, named MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) Gayane, is part of a transportation strategy fund run for the bank’s asset management unit, CNN Business news reported Wednesday.

The drugs with a street value of over US$1 billion were discovered in seven shipping containers on board at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (EDPA) said in June, adding that members of the ship’s crew were arrested and charged with federal crimes.

“This is one of the largest drug seizures in United States history. This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people,” tweeted US attorney for EDPA William M McSwain.

The ship made stops in Chile, Panama and the Bahamas, where it was believed to have carried the drugs, according to local media.

MSC said that the ship was en route to northern Europe at the time it was seized, and aside from the containers held by authorities in the United States, all other cargoes have been sent along to their destinations on other MSC vessels, CNN Business news said.

The quantity of cocaine seized globally in 2017 increased to 1,275 tonnes – the largest quantity ever reported, up 13% compared with the previous year, according to the World Drug Report 2019 released last month by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime