Malta, 97kg of cocaine intercepted before reaching Gioia Tauro
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS) – Authorities in Malta have intercepted 97 kilos of cocaine with a street value of over 11 million.
The cocaine was found hidden in a merchant ship that had just docked at the Malta Freeport in Marsaxlokk. The vessel is registered in Portugal and left the Panamanian port of Colon on 24 July for the Gioia Tauro port in Italy.
A random inspection on Sunday morning by divers of a security company engaged by the agents of the vessel noticed a large number of packets wrapped in plastic in a compartment at the bottom of the ship.
The divers informed the authorities and after the packets were analysed, it was discovered that they were filled with cocaine.
The merchant vessel arrived in Malta on Saturday evening, but police said that the drugs do not seem to have been destinated for Malta.
Colòn’s free trade zone was meant to be hub for the Americas but it has become a byword for drugs, gangs and violence. Last November Europol arrested 49 members of a super-cartel centred on Dubai and accounting for about a third of Europès cocaine supply.
According to Panamanian officials, only 2% of cargo is passed through a container scanner designed to detect contraband. Meanwhile, underwater, divers weld long metal containers stuffed with cocaine to the hulls of cargo ships. The majority of shipments intercepted by police in 2022 and 2023 were destined for Europe.
Photo: Malta Police Force