Shipping containers full of illegal drugs have been found and seized by federal authorities at a Philadelphia port, multiple law enforcement sources tell NBC10.
A senior law enforcement official said 15,000 kilos of cocaine has been seized from seven containers, which were found aboard a cargo ship, the MSC Gayane, that previously traveled from Chile, Panama and the Bahamas.
The bust occurred at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal Port on the Delaware River in South Philadelphia, multiple local, state and federal law enforcement sources have told NBC10.
The massive cache of drugs could have a street value between $350 million and $750 million at $25,000-50,000 per kilo, sources said.
Investigators believe the ship was loaded with drugs after it left its last port of call in the Bahamas, the senior law enforcement said.
Officials with Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security have not released details of what was seized, but did confirm a massive investigation is under way.
"Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection are leading a multi-agency inspection of shipping containers aboard a merchant ship at the Port of Philadelphia," ICE said in a statement. "We will release additional details when it is appropriate to do so.”
The Packer Avenue site is the largest along the Delaware River, where dockworkers unload huge container ships from overseas. Seven unloading cranes at the location owned by Holt Logistics rise along the river just south of the Walt Whitman Bridge. The shipyard has a capacity to unload 14,000 20-foot containers from cargo ships.
In March, $77 million in cocaine was seized at the Port of New York and New Jersey in what officials described at the time as the largest such bust at that port this century.
Earlier this year, a $38 million seizure took place at the Port of Philadelphia.