Feds are combing through 'voluminous' evidence after seizing $1 billion worth of cocaine on a JPMorgan-owned ship this summer

Associated PressFederal authorities have been given more time to review ‘voluminous’ evidence from a $US1 billion drug bust this summer.

Federal authorities are combing through “voluminous” evidence including audio in obscure languages, texts, navigation data, and physical evidence after seizing $US1 billion worth of cocaine on a ship owned by JPMorgan this summer.

Prosecutors indicted Nenad Ilic, a nautical engineering trainee from Montenegro, last month. Court filings show they accused the MSC Gayane crewmember of taking part in a conspiracy that involved mobile “narco” phones, ski masks, fake container seals, acts of intimidation, and smuggling drugs onto the ship under the cover of darkness.

Harvey Brattle III, a Pennsylvania district court judge, granted prosecutors more time to prepare their case this week, court filings show.

“This case is so unusual and complex due to the nature of the prosecution, including the volume of discovery materials and the large number of potential witnesses, that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for pretrial proceedings or for the trial itself within the time limits,” Judge Brattle ruled on a motion for a speedy trial.

Judge Brattle underlined the immense scale of the MSC Gayane in the court order. He highlighted that it carries thousands of shipping containers, spans “more than three football fields in length,” and contains an “extensive network” of navigation technology and other computers and electronics.

Judge Brattle also outlined the “voluminous” evidence and discovery in the case:

  • Over 4,000 hours of audio recorded by six microphones on the MSC Gayane
  • Data from more than 50 mobile phones, laptop and desktop computers, external hard drives, and other devices
  • Thousands of emails, texts, and digital documents
  • More than 500,000 megabytes of data from the MSC Gayane’s voyage data recorder or “black box,” including radar activity and other navigation data
  • Numerous reports, documents, and photographs from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
  • Physical evidence gathered from searches of shipping containers, cabins, offices, and other parts of the ship
  • Statements from law enforcement, experts, civilians, and other witnesses

Making the discovery process even more daunting: the bulk of the audio recordings, emails, texts, and documents have to be translated from foreign languages including Serbian, Samoan, Romanian, and Hindi.

Read more:
A fleet of boats, a corrupt crew, and fresh locks – here’s how smugglers loaded $US1 billion worth of cocaine onto a ship owned by JPMorgan

Read more:
Payoffs, glory-seeking Feds, and hiding in plain sight – here’s what 5 experts told us about the $US1 billion cocaine bust on a ship owned by JPMorgan

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