PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal source confirms to CBS3 that six people have now been charged in the $1 billion cocaine bust that took place at a Philadelphia port. The source also says the new weight estimate for the cocaine is 17.5 tons and that amount can grow as authorities still weigh the drugs and continue their search of the MSC Gayane cargo ship.
Federal authorities are having a press conference on Friday morning.
Federal court records obtained by CBS3 have identified two of the six people in custody: Ivan Durasevic and Fonofaavae Tiasaga. Further information about the pair was not released.
The MSC Gayane had last been in the Bahamas and was destined for the Netherlands before federal authorities raided the boat earlier this week at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia
Court documents outline the cocaine was apparently loaded by the bale-full onto the ship, delivered to the MSC Gayane by six separate boats in the middle of the night after leaving Peru. Court documents allege some of the men on those boats were wearing ski masks.
The drugs were then concealed in containers.
According to the complaint, Durasevic admitted his role to authorities in bringing cocaine onto the vessel after being offered $50,000 by the chief officer.
“According to Durasevic, upon leaving Peru on this current voyage, he got a call from the chief officer to come down to the deck, at which time he saw nets on the port side stern by the ship’s crane. Durasevic and approximately four other individuals, some of whom were wearing ski masks, assisted in the pushing of the nets towards Hold Seven or Eight of the vessel. The nets contained blue or black bags with handles. Two or three crew members assisted in loading the cocaine into containers. The whole process took approximately 30 to 40 minutes,” court documents say.
The massive amount of cocaine has been moved to a secure federal location in the city.
This was one of the largest drugs busts in U.S. history and the largest drug seizure ever for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.