BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Federal agents seized a combined 40,000 pounds of cocaine at ports in Baltimore and Philadelphia this month — just one day apart.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency report says traffickers are turning to East Coast seaports because of increasing enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: 1.5K New Cases & 17 Deaths Reported Saturday
The Baltimore seizure happened on June 18. Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) found 333 pounds of cocaine hidden in four duffel bags at the back of a container filled with beach chairs.
That container had a Maryland shipping address. No arrests have been made.
CBP said the container was suspicious because it had ties to China and spent more than a week sitting in Panama. The drugs had a street value of $10 million, the most cocaine ever seized at the Port of Baltimore.
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- 333 Pounds Of Cocaine Seized In Shipping Container Filled With Beach Chairs At Port Of Baltimore
- Nearly 20 Tons, $1.3 Billion Worth Of Cocaine Seized In Philadelphia Port Bust, Officials Say
- Philadelphia Drug Bust: Authorities Confirm 6 Arrests In Historic Cocaine Bust At Philadelphia Port
The Philadelphia seizure happened one day prior to the one in Baltimore. This week, CBP released an updated total for the agency’s largest-ever bust: 39,525 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $1.3 billion.
Six people face charges in that case. The container also went through Panama.
The seizures come as the United Nations reports a spike in worldwide cocaine production. Most cocaine in the United States is shipped here from Columbia.MORE NEWS: Pause In Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Could Delay Maryland's Goals As Baltimore City Emerges As Potential New Hotspot
Maryland has reported an increase in cocaine-related deaths over the past three years. Authorities believe the overdoses are increasing because drug dealers mix cocaine with the deadly opioid fentanyl.