PHILADELPHIA - A federal grand jury has indicted a crew member of a ship that officials say was found at a Philadelphia port with more than $1 billion worth of cocaine on board.
Nenad Ilic, 39, a nautical engineering trainee aboard the MSC Gayane was charged with conspiring to violate maritime drug smuggling laws.
U.S. authorities seized 33,000 pounds, or 15,000 kilograms, of cocaine from a ship at Philadelphia's port. They said the haul could have been worth more than $1 billion on the street.
If convicted, Ilic faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
An affidavit alleged that crew members helped load the cocaine onto the MSC Gayane while it was at sea off the west coast of South America. Citing an interview with one of the crew members, authorities said a total of 14 boats approached the vessel on two separate occasions during its voyage. Several crew members allegedly helped transfer bales of cocaine.