Malta’s Customs officials have intercepted a whopping 740kg of cocaine, with an estimated street value of between €90 and €100 million, from a reefer container that was making its way from Ecuador to Slovenia.
It is a new record cocaine haul for Customs, breaking the record it set last December, when officials seized 612kg of the drug that was passing from Ecuador and Colombia to Libya.
In a statement, Customs said today’s seizure was the result of a long operation that spanned from yesterday evening till late this afternoon.
A 40ft reefer container was selected by the Customs Container Monitoring Unit following a meticulous risk assessment on containers transiting through the Malta Freeport.
The container was then screened by officials stationed at the Scanning Facility, which flagged some discrepancies in the scan.
Officials then opened the cargo, which contained 1,080 boxes of bananas, and started physically inspecting each box one by one. Most of them just contained bananas, but hidden inside 37 of them was 740 packets of a white substance, which tests later confirmed to be high purity cocaine.
Customs said the packets each weighed around 1kg, but the difference in density and consistency between them and the other boxes was immediately flagged by the scanning officials.
The Malta Police Drug Force was informed of this seizure and duty magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo is leading an inquiry.