Law enforcement officers have long said that the Port of New York and New Jersey is an entry point for illegal drugs into the United States. This week, the United States Attorney's Office in Manhattan charged eight longshoremen with various drug crimes associated with drug trafficking.
For the past two years, federal investigators have been looking for a reason to arrest workers at the Port of New York and New Jersey. They suspected the longshoremen of assisting drug dealers from Panama. Now those investigators get their wish.
The accusations suggest that dock workers were paid by a drug cartel to smuggle drugs into the New Jersey area. The investigators allege that each worker was paid tens of thousands of dollars for each bag of cocaine they unloaded and kept from detection in the port.
Over the past two years, authorities have seized 1.4 metric tons of cocaine at United States ports and in Panama. The cocaine is valued at more than $34 million. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the recent arrests are related to the investigation that led to the seizure of those drugs.
The eight men facing drug charges have been accused of working with the Panamanian drug smugglers to bring cocaine into the United States. Drug trafficking charges often carry serious penalties, and the men could face harsh consequences if they are convicted.
In addition to the eight longshoremen, three other arrests were made in relation to the drug trafficking investigation.
Source: New York Post, "Dock men in one-ton coke bust," Bruce Golding, 6 Oct 2010
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