Convictions handed down in giant MSC cocaine bust

Convictions are being handed down in one of the US’s biggest ever drugs busts.

A record-breaking 20 tons of cocaine, worth $1.3bn, was seized on the 9,962 teu boxship MSC Gayane at the Port of Philadelphia in June 2019. In court proceedings this week it has emerged eight crew have been convicted with one of them, a Montenegrin engineer, sentenced to six years in federal prison, and two others from Samoa handed five-year sentences. Other sentences are expected to be revealed soon.

The ongoing court case has heard how eight of the 22 crew on the MSC ship loaded the cocaine off speedboats that approached the ship under cover of darkness at several points during its journey between Panama and the Peruvian coast.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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