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US$100 million in cocaine from T&T found in US port

Friday, January 17, 2014

United States federal authorities have announced the seizure of more than 700 pounds of cocaine at the Port of Norfolk, Virgina, USA, the Associated Press has reported.


732 pounds of the drug were seized on Dec. 20, with a street value of up to $100 million and a wholesale value of about $12 million.


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday that the cocaine was hidden in cans of fruit juice inside a 20-foot shipping container that originated from Trinidad and Tobago.



In response to the announcement, SM Jaleel and Company Limited posted a statement on their website distancing themselves from the illegal drug find.



"It has become common knowledge that the criminals involved in drug trafficking have been using mechanisms to transport cocaine, inclusive of items such as fruit, car parts, lumber, hardware and various others. It now appears that someone may be trying to utilize our company’s product in this regard," the SM Jaleel statement said.



"We too have only just been recently informed of the situation that occurred almost a month ago on December 20, 2013, regarding the use of our TJC orange and grapefruit flavoured juice tins in the smuggling of cocaine in to the United States and have, to date, not been contacted by the relevant US authorities in connection with this matter.



"At present we have no knowledge or evidence of the details other than the press release from the United States. We have already commenced our own internal investigation; however, we are not yet in a position to provide any further details at this time."