An investigation was conducted at Port Newark after an unsubstantiated claim that dangerous explosives had been smuggled on board a cargo ship, officials said.
Customs and Border Protection officials, in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, examined containers for possible hidden explosives aboard the Express Athens around 1 p.m. Tuesday, after the ship had arrived at the New Jersey port from Egypt.
After becoming aware of the threat, the ship was first checked at sea before undergoing the more detailed search at the port. After a few hours, no explosives were discovered, a senior law enforcement source told NBC New York, and an all clear was given.
The Coast Guard said in a statement that Tuesday's search was a "high interest vessel" boarding, which they said can occur around 200 times every year, but had no specific information regarding the investigation.
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One crew member was taken into custody by Homeland Security investigators and U.S. Marshals on international drug-related charges stemming out of Europe, sources told NBC New York. Despite no explosives being found, the alleged drug smuggler was still in custody.