It is the most massive bust to have happened in the New York City area in the last 25 years. On Monday, authorities have confirmed that on February 28 nearly 60 packages of a white, powdery substance that had come through Port Newark in New Jersey. All the packages were later tested and positively identified as cocaine. All told, the estimated street value is said to be around $77 million. According to the United States Customs and Border Protection agency, this was the port’s second-largest cocaine seizure since May 1994.
Along with CBP agents, law enforcement officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the US Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the New York Police Department and the New York State Police took part in the bust. The drugs were handed over to Homeland Security for further investigation.
According to Ray Donovan, a Special Agent with the DEA, cocaine is making a return to the New York City area. Yet, it’s back with a far different approach than before when the drug gripped the city back in the 1990s. Donovan believes that traffickers are building an emerging customer base of users by mixing cocaine with fentanyl, a dangerous drug that is already responsible for a countless number of drug-related deaths in recent years. “This record-breaking seizure draws attention to this new threat and shows law enforcement’s collaborative efforts in seizing illicit drugs before it gets to the streets and into the wrong hands,” Donovan said.
In May of 1994, 6,600 pounds of cocaine that was smuggled using shipments of roofing material was seized from Port Newark. The cocaine was said to be loaded onto a vessel that originated from Venezuela. As a result, three Colombian nationals were arrested. The packages that were seized weighed an estimate of around 3,200 pounds.