$3 million worth of cocaine seized at port
Drugs were discovered Monday hidden in cargo ship from Ecuador
By Matthew Dolan
Originally published April 19, 2007, 11:40 AM EDT
Federal customs agents have seized $3 million worth of cocaine hidden in a cargo ship from Ecuador and docked at Baltimore's main port, officials announced today.
Agents discovered the cocaine during a search Monday of the containerized cargo on the vessel Alianca Shanghai at The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. Officials did not say whether they were tipped to the presence of the drug shipment.
"This cocaine seizure reflects the effectiveness of our officers to detect narcotics in the containerized cargo environment," Michael Hrinyak, the port's director, said in a statement released today. "We are determined to catch smugglers and the narcotics they attempt to ship hidden in legitimate merchandise."
A contraband enforcement team with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Anti-Terrorism found 310 pounds of cocaine on the ship after a drug-sniffing dog alerted authorities.
A total of 125 bricks of cocaine had been hidden inside a 40-foot refrigerated container from Guayaquil, Ecuador, according to customs officials. Agents reported that the cocaine stash was stuffed inside three duffel bags and placed on top of more than 1,000 cartons of plantains. Officials said the shipment was bound for New York.
Lynn Hollinger, a customs agency spokeswoman, said today that no arrests have been made. She added that she was uncertain about the status of the ship this morning.
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