WILMINGTON, Del., (WPVI) -- Officials in Delaware have discovered 63 pounds of cocaine concealed in the ventilation system of a refrigerated shipping container at the Port of Wilmington.
The discovery was made back on June 6 when Customs and Border Tactical Operation officers from the Port of Philadelphia and CBP officers from the Port of Wilmington conducted a joint container inspection.
Two brick-like objects found in the container's ventilation system prompted the search.
Customs and Border Protection officers seized about 63 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of up to $2 million, which they discovered concealed in the ventilation system of a refrigerated shipping container at the Port of Wilmington, Del., on June 6.
The search revealed a total of 26 bricks, weighing 28.6 kilograms (or about 63 pounds) with a wholesale value of about $750,000 and a street value of as much as $2 million.
The container in which the cocaine was concealed was carrying bananas, which arrived aboard the M/V Dole Chile. The ship routinely brings fresh produce from Central America to Wilmington.
It makes port calls in Colombia, Costa Rica and Honduras before arriving stateside at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Wilmington.
CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia Allan Martocci says it is likely that the cocaine was concealed in the ventilation unit before being placed aboard the Dole Chile without the shipping company's knowledge.
One of the keys to combating narcotics networks is to disrupt their transportation and distribution routes, and this seizure effectively eliminates one potential route, said Martocci.
CBP turned the cocaine over to special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE and the DEA, along with other law enforcement partners, are continuing to investigate the seizure.
June 14, 2010