Another day, another hapless tale of cocaine being seized by the authorities.
As outlined in a CNN report filed Wednesday, U.S. authorities in Philadelphia seized a cargo vessel last month that was carrying nearly 20 tons of coke with a projected value of around $1.3 billion. The twist of it all, per the report, is that the ship in question is owned by a fund operated by JPMorgan Chase.
Specifically, the MSC Gayane ship is among those used as part of the bank's transportation strategy fund, utilized for asset management. JPMorgan Chase, however, doesn't have any "operational control" of the ship, which authorities further described as being run by the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company.
During the initial seizure June 17, the coke in question was taken by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Earlier this month, however, it was announced that a warrant had been issued allowing the ship itself to be taken by authorities. It will now be under such custody until determined otherwise by a court, per a Department of Justice press release from earlier this week.
According to CBP's Baltimore Director of Field Operations Casey Durst, the MSC Gayane currently stands as "the largest vessel seized" in the CBP's 230-year history. "This action [of seizing the ship] serves as a reminder for all shipping lines and vessel masters of their responsibilities under U.S. and international law to implement and enforce stringent security measures to prevent smuggling attempts such as this," Durst said.
The MSC Gayane's current status is that it's subject to possible forfeiture outright to the U.S. The investigation, which includes the cooperation of Homeland Security Investigations, remains ongoing.