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Biggest Drug Bust in 25 Years Made at NYC-Area Port

'Dried fruit' shipment held $77M in cocaine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2019 12:11 AM CDT
This Feb. 28, 2019 photo provided by US Customs and Border Protection shows Customs agents unloading a truck containing 3,200 pounds of cocaine in 60 packages, where it was seized at the Port of New York/Newark,...   (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)
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(Newser) – Customs agents have seized the biggest shipment of cocaine recovered at the ports of New York and New Jersey in 25 years. US Customs and Border Protection says 3,200 pounds of the drug in 60 packages were seized at Port New York/Newark on Feb. 28, the AP reports. The street value is estimated at $77 million. It's the biggest cocaine seizure at the ports since 1994. Official say the container was recovered from a ship that originated in Buenaventura, Colombia. According to the manifest, it was supposed to hold dried fruit. Customs officers turned the drugs over to federal Homeland Security officials for investigation.

Authorities say the shipment was discovered during a routine inspection of the container ship Carlotta when officers noticed that the pins on the doors of a shipping container had apparently been doctored, the New York Times reports. The bust comes as cocaine makes a comeback in New York City after years in which drugs like fentanyl dominated the market, authorities say. The huge shipment shows dealers are pushing "to build an emerging customer base of users mixing cocaine and fentanyl," says Ray Donovan, head of the DEA's New York office. "This record-breaking seizure draws attention to this new threat."

(Read more cocaine stories.)

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