More than 2,000 pounds of cocaine worth roughly $31 million has been seized aboard a vessel that docked in Savannah from South America, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported Tuesday.
During a search of a shipping container Oct. 29, officers discovered 21 duffel bags that contained 818 bricks of white powder, which later tested positive for cocaine.
Authorities have made no arrests, however, as an investigation by Homeland Security tries to determine when and where the cocaine was hidden inside the containers and where the load was being shipped.
The ship's manifest listed the contents of the container as aluminum and copper waste that was being shipped from South America to Europe.
Photos of the drug bust show several large bags of luggage strewn amid industrial-sized bales of mangled and tattered scrap metal.
The 2,133 pounds of cocaine now ranks as the largest cocaine seizure at the Port of Savannah and marks the fifth interception of narcotics at the seaport during the last five months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
The previous record was a 1,280-pound cocaine seizure in May. That cocaine, which was aboard a container being shipped from South America, had an estimated street value of about $19 million.
Customs officers typically screen international travelers and cargo and search for narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety, security and economic vitality.
“Drug Trafficking Organizations are relentless in their attempts to smuggle drugs into the U.S.,” said Christopher Kennally, area port director Savannah, in a news release. “Through hard work, dedication and tireless efforts of Customs and Border Protection officers in Savannah, we will continue to hit back at the Drug Trafficking Organizations by intercepting their dangerous drugs at our ports of entry before they can harm our communities.”