NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Authorities said the East Coast’s largest shipping port experienced a security breach as eight dock workers were charged in New York with cocaine trafficking.
On Tuesday, authorities announced the arrests of longshoremen from the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal in Elizabeth, N.J., as part of a prosecution that resulted in 22 arrests.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said an investigation revealed a security flaw at one of the world’s most important hubs for commerce and trade.
“Longshoremen have special access to certain restricted areas of the port, and so were able to go to containers to off-load the narcotics without being detected,” Bharara said.
Bharara said the drugs came from Panama in shipping containers, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
He said longshoremen made up to $100,000 for offloading just one duffel bag of cocaine within a secure area only employees could access.
The entire investigation yielded the seizure of more than 1.3 metric tons of cocaine, valued at more than $34 million.
Haskell reported that the investigation also led to the arrests of eleven others in a $7 million pump-and-dump stock scheme.
The defendants are charged with using social networking sites to artificially inflate the price of a stock. The stocks were then sold at a hefty profit, and the stock price collapsed.
(The Associated Press Contributed to this report.)