The largest drug haul ever made in Malta's history has taken place at the Freeport thanks to the Malta Customs Department. 612 kg of cocaine were discovered concealed within pallets that were carrying cooking oil.
The cargo left Ecuador and transited through Colombia before being intercepted by Customs in Malta en-route to Libya.
Discrepancies in the scanning image of the cargo lead the Officials to carry out a physical inspection on the container's load. The pallets, carrying the freight, appeared dense compared to regular images and, subsequently, officials offloaded and dismantled one of the pallets.
The inspection lead to the discovery of packets concealed within the pallet's structure, and contained a white substance which gave a positive indication for Cocaine.
A total of 510 packets were elevated, weighing 1.2kg each, for a total of a 612 kg haul. The street value of these narcotics amount to 69 Million Euro.
The case was handed over to the Police Drug Squad for further investigations, while the duty Magistrate was informed about the haul and assigned several court experts to assist. This haul was a record breaker due to the high value and amount from a single container.
To get a better perspective, during 2019 a total of 750kg (84.5 million euro) were intercepted by Customs from 16 containers.
The Customs Department has played an instrumental and active role in the fight against narcotics movements through the borders and the investment in the Scanning Facility at the Freeport has proved to be a monumental return of investment for both the Department and the European law enforcement.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020 Malta Customs has held consignments that were in breach of sanctions imposed on movement of goods to Libya, including:
- Four containers carrying stolen vehicles, valued €95,000;
- Three containers carrying fireworks, with an estimated value of €1,064,000;
- Two containers carrying €926 million in paper currency; and
- Twenty-three containers carrying boats, with an estimated value of €135,000.
The total value of these seized goods is €927,294,000.
The data about the seizure of illicit currency and the data about the seizure of boats refer to recently held consignments that were in breach of sanctions imposed on movement of goods to Libya.
(Source: Malta Department of Customs)