A new breakdown of drug trafficking habits across Europe gives a detailed insight into how couriers are having their illicit packages delivered to key destinations – but a mention of Malta seems to have gotten the government a bit more excited than need be, leading them to confuse a case study reference with a top 10 finish.
The study, by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Western Europe (RILO WE), is an annual review of seizures carried out at airports and in mail centres in the member countries of the Pompidou Group’s Co-operation Group of Drug Control Services at European Airports, which Malta is a part off.
It looks into drug trafficking via two routes – airport and mail.
“In 2020, 765 cases of drug couriers were reported at airports,” they reported. “In total, nearly 6.9 tons of illegal drugs of all kinds were stopped to enter the European market or to be redirected worldwide. Customs or police at airports carried out 85% of checks on arrival, 13% during transit and only 2% on departure.”
They continued to give detailed analyses of emerging drug trends, before turning to 10 case studies from various countries’s airports showing different methods, including one from Malta.
“September 13, 2020 Gudja/Malta,” the entry begins. “Following a suspicious irregularity in the scan image of a luggage checked-in at Madrid airport/Spain, the suitcase was emptied from its contents, physically examined thoroughly and a false bottom revealed three packages of cocaine wrapped in silver foil (9.58 kg).”
In a second list of case studies focused on mail couriers, Malta doesn’t get a mention.
Somehow though, the government took the mention as an inclusion as part of some Top 10 – we still aren’t exactly sure what for – and issued a statement praising the inclusion.
“One of Malta’s drug seizures makes it amongst the top 10 airport seizures,” a Customs spokesperson said in a statement along some highlighted facts.
The thing is, there is no top ten… just a list of case studies.
As an added bonus, even though the mention was about a cocaine seizure, only images of two other unrelated cannabis seizures were included in the Custom Department’s statement.
Most people are used to governments spinning stories, but this has to be the first time we’ve seen a mention in a case study be spun into a Top 10 entry in a long time.
Regardless of the perspective, the study actually features a number of interesting tidbits, including the differences in drugs being moved via airport and via mail… just don’t let the government know, because they might send a photo of a fast ferry instead.
Tag someone who is in your Top 10, no matter what they really are