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Tag: cargo

Feds Seize a Record 16.5 Tons of Cocaine Worth $1B+ in Philadelphia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine at the Philadelphia Port, calling it the largest coke bust in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the third largest in the U.S.

The DEA bust netted 16.5 tons of cocaine from seven shipping containers found in a cargo ship docked at the Packer Marine Terminal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Federal authorities arrested two members of the crew, Ivan Durasevic and Fonofaavae Tiasag.
Authorities said the ship appears to have originated from Chile and traveled to Peru, Columbia and Panama.

“This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people,” Philadelphia-based U.S. Attorney William McSwain said on Twitter, “My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”

Dems Demand Explanation on TSA Missed Deadline on Screening Packages on Planes

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Security Administration is still not scanning 100 percent of  the parcels on inbound international flights, and Congress wants to know why.

The website NextGov.com reports that it appears TSA will miss a deadline to scan all parcels on overseas planes for the second time, and House Democrats have sent a letter to TSA officials demanding an explanation,NextGov.com

Following 9/11,  TSA was mandated to screen 100 percent of international inbound passenger plane cargo by August of 2010. NextGov reported that when the time came and the task still seemed too great, “partly due to technological challenges,” the deadline was extended until the end of this year.

Still, TSA is reportedly screening only “identified high-risk” parcels. In an Oct. 31 letter legislators demanded to know if the TSA is skirting the law, reports NextGov.

Bomb-making materials were found hidden in packaged printer parts headed from Yemen to the United States about a year ago.

The TSA declined to comment specifically on the new demands, but TSA spokesman Greg Soule did say that the TSA is continuing its efforts to detect and eliminate risk, NextGov reported.

“Air cargo is more secure than it has ever been with 100 percent of cargo on flights departing US airports and 100 percent of identified high-risk international inbound cargo undergoing screening,” he said in a statement.

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Critics Still Skeptical of “War on Toner” Involving Terrorism

By Zack Cohen
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  It’s being satirically dubbed the“war on toner,” a phrase that reflects experts’ skepticism about the U.S. response to al Qaeda’s failed bid to blow up U.S. bound planes with explosive-packed ink cartridges.

In other words, the response is  hardly sufficient, some experts insist.

“In typical TSA fashion [the measures] are reactionary,” said Kevin McCarthy, a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Institute. “We already know what we can find and what we cannot find and we are not very good at it,” he said. We need to “look for the intelligence, the trigger, the other parts of the equation.”

Specifically, the U.S. has banned all ground cargo from Yemen and Somalia and  adapted new rules for inbound cargo  to reflect the latest intelligence. No high-risk cargo will be allowed on passenger aircrafts and toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces are banned from checked and carry on luggage from domestic and international flights bound for the U.S.

There are plenty skeptics who scoff at the idea that limiting the size of an ink cartridge will do much good when it comes to fending off a terrorist attack.

And  implementing more intensive measures along those lines will only create a false sense of security, according to Chris Battle, a former deputy for the Department of Homeland Security.

For one, he said, the perception that the government is catching everything could result in  focusing too much on technology and not enough on intelligence gathering and risk assessment.

“The U.S. Congress seems to be the only entity in the world that thinks you can adequately screen 100 percent of all cargo coming into and leaving the country,” Battle said. “It should be remembered that the explosives were not detected by technology but through intelligence.”

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Napolitano Announces Clamp Down on Air Cargo Security

Janet Napolitano/file photo-bill maher show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. moved Monday to clamp down on the vulnerable area of cargo shipments from abroad.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the banning of “high risk” cargo shipments and a ban on shipments from Yemen and Somalia.

“Following the thwarted terrorist plot last week to conceal and ship explosive devices on board aircraft bound for the U.S., the Administration took a number of immediate steps to increase security by tightening existing measures related to cargo bound for the United States,” Napolitano said in a statement.

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Cargo Shipping Firms Agree to Pay $50.2 Million Criminal Fines in Price Fixing Scheme

justice dept. logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Six international freight companies agreed this week to pay criminal fines totaling $50.2 million for their role in a price fixing scheme involving international cargo, the Justice Department said.

“The department’s investigation uncovered six different conspiracies harming businesses and consumers in the United States and across the globe,” Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement. “Our investigation continues in this important industry.”

Authorities said the six companies, known as “freight forwarders”, manage the domestic and international delivery of cargo for customers by receiving, packaging, preparing and warehousing cargo freight, arranging for cargo shipment through transportation providers such as air carriers and steamship lines, preparing shipment documentation, and providing related ancillary services.”

Authorities alleged that the companies met and agreed to “coordinate various charges and fees on customers purchasing international freight forwarding services for cargo freight destined for air shipment to the United States.” The agreements came between 2002 and 2007.

The companies are: EGL Inc., a Houston-based company; Kühne + Nagel International AG, based in Schindellegi, Switzerland (K+N); Geologistics International Management (Bermuda) Limited, based in Hamilton, Bermuda; Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd., based in Basel, Switzerland; Schenker AG, based in Essen, Germany; and BAX Global Inc., a Toledo, Ohio-based company.