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Part 1, (still don't get the photo limitation)
Last 5 months:
From an article today from American Shipper, it is becoming apparent that most of the largest seizures of drugs around the world are common from container shipping.
Port of Philadelphia; 15,500 kilos of cocaine, worth $1 billion, 6/16/2019
Port of Felixstowe, England, 1,279 kilos of heroin, worth, $148 million, 8/30/2019, 398 kilos of heroin 8/2/2019
Port of Gioia Tauro in Italy; 1,176 kilos of cocaine, worth $275 million, 11/11/2019 (past year over 2.5 tons)
Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michocan, 23,368 kilos of fentanyl, arriving from China, enough to kill everyone on the planet, 8/23/2019
Container shipping’s drug problem will just not go away. After a string of police busts in the U.S. this year, the focus has switched to European ports in recent months.
As reported in FreightWaves, a record 1,279 kilograms of heroin with a street value of £130 million ($148 million) was seized at the port of Felixstowe, England, on Aug. 30.
Italian police topped that value earlier this week when 1,176 kilograms of cocaine worth 250 million euros ($275 million) was found in a reefer container (pictured above; source: Europol) with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) branding at the Port of Gioia Tauro, a container shipping hub in southwest Italy.
Europol said the Italian Carabinieri (Carabinieri) and the Italian Finance Corps (Guardia di Finanza), supported by Italian Customs, Europol and Frontex, seized the drugs Nov. 11.
‘Ndrangheta mafia to blame
“This seizure confirms the port of Gioia Tauro as a major hub for the transit of cocaine trafficked to western Europe,” said a statement from Europol.
“This is also shown in other recent Italian investigations against ‘Ndrangheta criminal structures active in the transnational cocaine trafficking.”
Shipping documents indicated the box was destined for Germany.
The seized cocaine was hidden in 144 packages within a case of bananas stored in a refrigerated container. The drugs were detected after the Italian Finance Corps and Customs authorities performed an extensive risk analysis of several vessels and containers arriving at the port of Gioia Tauro. The case was then referred to the Anti-mafia District Prosecution Office.
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) did not respond when asked if it was the owner of the container found with 1,176 kilograms of cocaine at the Port of Gioia Tauro on November 11. MSC branding is far left.
In the past 12 months alone, the Italian Finance Corps and the Customs Agency have seized over 2.5 tonnes of cocaine at Gioia Tauro.
Europol and Frontex provided technical and operational assistance in the investigation that preceded the seizure. “The early deployment on-the-spot of Europol experts facilitated the immediate exchange of information with other potentially affected EU Member States,” added Europol.
No response about the ownership of the box was forthcoming from MSC at the time this article was published.
Europol could not confirm if the container was MSC-owned when contacted by FreightWaves.
Container shipping’s drug problem
The use of container shipping for drug smuggling has become a global issue during 2019. The Aug. 30 heroin seizure from a Maersk vessel at the port of Felixstowe August 30 followed the seizure of 398 kg of heroin from a vessel at the same U.K. gateway Aug. 2.
A record 1,279 kilograms of heroin with a street value of £130 million ($148 million) was seized at the port of Felixstowe, England, on Aug. 30. Image: Stephen Ivie )
At the Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan, Mexico, 23,368 kilos of fentanyl arriving from China were found on the Svendborg Maersk on Aug. 23.
In the U.S., the Port of Philadelphia was the scene of a record cocaine bust in June, the second U.S. drug bust this year involving a container ship operated by MSC.
MSC released a statement that it “has a long-standing history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking and works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“Unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems,” it added.
Globalization fuels smuggling
The rising tide of drug smuggling in large quantities using containers has long been predicted as a likely consequence of globalization.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issued a policy paper in 2012 predicting the global shipping industry would be used for the transport of narcotics, arms and other illicit cargo. The authors, Hugh Griffiths and Michael Jenks, pointed to a particular risk in future years for the container shipping industry.
“Maritime trade is one of the pillars of globalization. As new economic powers emerge and new trading links are forged, maritime trade will continue to expand,” they wrote. “Understandably, governments will continue to weigh the benefits of stricter controls on the shipping industry against the significant costs of jeopardizing their countries’ involvement in the maritime trade.”
Drugs – just another boxed commodity
According to the SIPRI report, “Maritime trade has always included a share of illicit activity. However, the advent of containerization in particular has given maritime traffickers unprecedented opportunities to integrate their activities into the global supply chain.
“Containerization provides trafficking with the same cost- and time-saving transport mechanisms that have allowed the world’s multinational companies to deliver their products quickly and cheaply, penetrate new markets and expand their global customer base,” the report said.
“It is likely that, at least as long as the trend toward containerization continues in the licit portion of maritime trade, containers will increasingly be used for many sorts of trafficked commodities – and mainstream companies will increasingly become unwitting accomplices of the traffickers.”
Encourage you to listen to video on the site. Good straightforward news, about 5 minutes.
In reply to this post by Parro
Wow 23,000 kgs. of fentanyl?That blows my socks off!Can you imagine if this got into terrorist's hands?I don't know if this was a rumour or not but wasn't a few years back in Russia that there were a bunch died in a movie theatre and it wasn't due to bullets but something like fent they succumbed to in close quarters they found out after the fact?
Here's a new video of a narco sub the Coastguard got in the Pacific.
In reply to this post by canadiana
Canadiana - the incident in Russia, was known as the 2002 Nord-Ost siege, or the Moscow theater hostage crisis. 40 - 50 Chechens stormed a theater in Moscow and took 850 hostages. They demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War.
This siege lasted 4 days, and in the end all 40 of the insurgents were killed, and up to 204 of the hostages, including nine foreigners by a toxic substance that was pumped into the theater to subdue the insurgents. The identity of the gas was never disclosed, although it is believed by some to have been a fentanyl derivative, such as carfentanil.
Early in the morning before dawn, at around 5:00 a.m. Moscow time, the searchlights that had been illuminating the main entrance to the theater went out.
Inside, although many hostages at first took the gas (aerosol) to be smoke from a fire, it soon became apparent to gunmen and hostages alike that a mysterious gas had been pumped into the building. Different reports said it came either through the specially created hole in the wall, that it was pumped through the theater's ventilation system, or that it emerged from beneath the stage. The security services pumped an aerosol anaesthetic, later stated by Russian Health Minister Yuri Shevchenko to be based on fentanyl, into the theater through the air conditioning system. The discovery caused panic in the auditorium. Hostage Anna Andrianova, a correspondent for Moskovskaya Pravda, called Echo of Moscow radio studio and told on-air in a live broadcast interview that the government forces had begun an operation by pumping gas into the hall:
It seems to us that the Russians have started something. Please, give us a chance. If you can do anything, please do! ... I don't know which gas it is. But I see [the Chechens'] reactions. They don't want our deaths, and our officials want none of us to leave alive! I don't know. We see it, we feel it, we are breathing through our clothes. ... It began from outside. That's what our government has decided – that no one should leave from here alive.
WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGE:
Analysis of drug residue from the clothing of two British hostages and the urine of a third British hostage, by a team of researchers at the British chemical and biological defense laboratories at Porton Down, Wiltshire, England, indicated two fentanyl derivatives were used. Neither of those two were fentanyl or 3-methylfentanyl (the Russian Minister of Health earlier said fentanyl or one of its derivatives had been used, but did not accurately specify which derivatives).
The Porton Down analysis by James R. Riches and his colleagues showed that while fentanyl or 3-methyl fentanyl were absent from the urine of one survivor and residues of the agent in the clothing of two other British survivors, the veterinary large animal sedative drug carfentanil and anesthetic agent remifentanil were identified by liquid chromatographic tandem mass spectrometry in one hostage's urine and on the clothing of three hostages who had returned to Britain after the hostage rescue. The authors concluded that carfentanil and remifentanil were used as a mixture in the chemical agent employed by Russian troops to subdue the Chechen terrorists and hostages at the Barricade Theater, perhaps suspended in the anesthetic agent halothane.
My take: A harrowing, unbelievable story over 4 days. I cannot believe that a movie has never been made by this event.
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