(TMU) — A container ship owned by JP Morgan has been seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Philadelphia weeks after authorities discovered over $1 billion dollars worth of cocaine on the vessel.
On June 17, U.S. Customs and Homeland Security led a multi-agency effort which detected inconsistencies in seven shipping containers and confiscated 39,525 pounds of cocaine. The cocaine has a street value of approximately $1.3 billion.
On July 4, CBP executed a warrant and seized the MSC Gayane—which is the world’s second-largest container ship. The seagoing vessel is owned by JP Morgan Asset Management and operated by Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The MSC Gayane is the largest vessel seized in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 230-year history and follows the record seizure of almost 20-tons of cocaine discovered on the vessel,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented—but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented,” stated U.S. Attorney William McSwain.
Eight crew members have been arrested, according to Homeland Security, and multiple others have been charged. Charges included conspiracy to possess cocaine. The investigation is still ongoing.
The seized vessel sailed under Liberian flag and had previously traveled through Colombia, Chile, Peru, Panama and the Bahamas, according to an online ship tracker.
Ironically, JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon once blasted Bitcoin as being fraudulent, claiming it is only useful “if you were a drug dealer [or] a murderer.”
Jeffrey Epstein Partner Ghislaine Maxwell Found GUILTY in Sex Crimes Trial
Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty of five of six charges in her sex-trafficking trial Wednesday evening, bringing to a close the dramatic sex trafficking trial for the former partner of late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, 60, was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenage girls for Epstein between 1994 and 2004 and acting as what prosecutors called a “sophisticated predator” who preyed on the young and vulnerable for the benefit of rich and famous elites.
Epstein, 66, died of apparent suicide during his incarceration at a federal prison in New York City while facing a potential prison sentence of up to 45 years on charges of pedophilia and sex trafficking.
Maxwell faces up to 70 years in prison for her crimes, and may also face a heavy penalty for a pair of perjury counts that will be tried separately.
“Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein’s right hand,” Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said in closing statements, according to Reuters.
“Maxwell and Epstein were partners. They were partners in crime who sexually exploited young girls together,” Moe added.
The Maxwell trial was widely seen as a last-ditch opportunity for the government to secure a conviction for Epstein’s crimes, in effect making this the trial that Epstein prevented from ever occurring.
Maxwell’s defense argued that she should not be made the scapegoat for his crimes, claiming that her accusers were motivated by personal gain and that their memories had become distorted over the years.
“Epstein’s death left a gaping hole in the pursuit of justice for many of these women,” Maxwell’s defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim argued. “She’s filling that hole, and filling that empty chair.”
Throughout the trial, the 12 jurors heard lurid and hard-hitting testimony from four women who say that Maxwell and Epstein had personally abused them when they were under the legal age of consent, with two of the women claiming the abuse happened when they were 14.
One of the 14-year-old victims, who went by the pseudonym Jane, said that Epstein began abusing her in 1994 with the occasional participation of Maxwell.
“It made me feel confused because that did not feel normal to me,” Jane said. “I’d never seen anything like this or felt anything like this.”
Prosecutors argued that Maxwell helped the girls feel at ease with Epstein, and that without her participation they likely would have been turned off from being abused by the then-middle-aged financier.
“Epstein could not have done this alone,” Moe said.
One woman, known by her first name Carolyn, said: “Money will not ever fix what that woman has done to me.”
Maxwell and Epstein both were known to have been friends with such public figures as Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and other high-profile figures.
Julian Assange Suffers Stroke in UK Prison Due to ‘Extreme Stress’: Reports
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has suffered a small stroke while jailed at the UK’s Belmarsh Prison, his fiancé Stella Moris said over the weekend.
The medical incident comes amid the jailed journalist’s fight to prevent his extradition to the United States from Britain.
On Friday, the U.S. government won its appeal at the British High Court that could see him handed over to Washington over spaying charges stemming from WikiLeaks’ publication of secret military documents more than ten years ago.
According to Moris, who is the mother of Assange’s two children, the mini-stroke occurred in late October as the U.S. government appealed a ruling that would block his removal from the country.
“Julian Assange suffered a stroke on the first day of the High Court appeal hearing on October 27th,” she wrote on Twitter.
In a Sunday interview with the UK Daily Mail, Moris expressed fear that the incident may precipitate a “more major attack.”
“It compounds our fears about his ability to survive, the longer this long legal battle goes on,” she noted.
“It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short,” Moris continued. “That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.”
The U.S. government is seeking the extradition of Assange to the United States on 17 charges, including allegations of conspiracy to misuse computers in the U.S. and violating the Espionage Act.
Analysts say he is likely to face a sentence of up to 175 years in prison or even the death penalty if found guilty of the charges.
Assange’s defenders claim that he is simply being sought due to his role in the release of scandalous information implicating Washington in a range of crimes, including serious war crimes and violations of international law.
His prolonged isolation, first in Ecuador’s London embassy and then at the Belmarsh facility, have reportedly taken a serious toll on his physical and mental health.
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