Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

March 11, 2019

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Record-breaking amount of cocaine seized at Port of New York/Newark

DEA, CBP, HSI, USCG, NYSP and NYPD interdicted 3,200 pounds of cocaine from shipping container

NEWARK, N.J. – On Feb. 28, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U. S. Customs and Border Protection, U. S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York Police Department and the New York State Police conducted a container inspection at the Port of New York/Newark, discovering 60 bundles that contained a white powder. In total, approximately 3,200 pounds (approximately 1455 kilograms) of cocaine with an estimated street value of approximately $77,000,000 was seized.


This is the second largest cocaine seizure at the Port of New York/Newark and the largest in nearly 25 years.


“Cocaine, New York’s nemesis of the 90s, is back, indicating traffickers’ push to build an emerging customer base of users mixing cocaine with fentanyl,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.  “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 users’ hands.”


“This is a significant seizure; in fact, it is the largest cocaine seizure at the Port of New York/Newark since May 1994,” said CBP Director of New York Field Operations Troy Miller. “The ongoing partnership between CBP, USCG, HSI, DEA, NYPD and NYSP continues to produce results that protect the American public. This interception prevents a massive quantity of drugs from getting to the streets and in the hands of our children.”


“Transnational criminal organizations rely upon illicit networks throughout the world to supply, transport and distribute cocaine and other dangerous drugs,” said HSI Newark Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael. “HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force in Newark, comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement working together, strengthened by HSI’s international partnerships and DHS’s combined assets, play a critical role in disrupting the worldwide cocaine chain.” 


“Successes such as this seizure are a testament to the importance of our partnerships and our ability to work together to keep our ports and our communities safe,” said Capt. Jason Tama, Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and commander Sector New York.


“The dedication of law enforcement has once again resulted in a massive seizure of deadly drugs,” said NYSP Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett. “I applaud our partners for the hard work that kept this dangerous substance from our streets. Not only did this interception save lives, but it also put an end to the violence often associated with drugs and drug trafficking. This is a crime we will not tolerate, and one we will continue to fight with our partners in law enforcement."


“The proliferation of illegal drugs in New York City will never be tolerated, neither by law enforcement nor by the people we serve,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “The NYPD and its law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying and stopping all illegal narcotics by attacking their distribution networks on every level. Through significant seizures such as this, we will continue to make every neighborhood in our nation’s safest large city even safer.”


CBP officers seized the illicit drugs and turned them over to agents from Homeland Security Investigations. No arrests have been made, and the investigation will continue.


CBP routinely works with its partner federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to intercept dangerous drugs before they can reach our communities. It deploys the government’s largest law enforcement work force, including air and marine assets, to protect our citizens at and between ports of entry.


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