€52,000 in undeclared cash, 30,800 contraband cigarettes, several packages of drugs seized by Customs

A busy time for Customs Officials after seizing thousands in cash and cigarettes while intercepting drug packages

€52,500 in undeclared cash, 30,800 contraband cigarettes, and several packages of drugs were seized by Customs at different ports.

Customs officials stopped two passengers boarding the ferry to Sicily after the Customs canine Charlie indicated that an Italian passenger was carrying undeclared cash.

When officials asked how much cash he was carrying, the passenger said he had around €5,000 to €7,000. Further investigations led to the passenger presenting a total of €11,760.

Another passenger, who was travelling by ferry to Sicily, was also stopped by Customs officials for currency control. The passenger, a Syrian man, was asked by officials how much he was carrying, and he replied that he had less than €10,000. In fact, further investigations revealed that he was in possession of €10,990.

Two other passengers were stopped at Malta International Airport after routine screening checks. A Ghanaian passenger told officials that he was carrying €14,000. After a thorough search, officials discovered €19,091 on the person. 

The other passenger, a Burmese national, said he was carrying $11,000, but was in fact holding $12,475 and €270.

30,825 contraband cigarettes

Customs then seized 30,825 cigarettes from a shop in Msida, a private residence and garages in Żejtun. From the private garage in Żejtun alone, officials seized 13,800 Business Royals Red, all found without an excise stamp affixed on them.

After the find, the same officials searched the residence adjacent to the garage and found 198 contraband cigarettes in the kitchen and bedroom. 

The officials observed the area further and noticed a van stopping front of another garage situated in another street. Customs approached the van driver and asked him to open the garage door. This third search led officials to discover 16,400 Business Royals Red cigarettes. 

In a separate case, another 427 contraband cigarettes were seized from an Indian shop in Msida, of the brands L&M Blue and Gala American Blend. The cigarettes were found under the shop counter.

The shop owner stated that the withheld items were bought from a Maltese man who distributed them directly to his shop but he had no invoices to provide officials. 

Cannabis, seeds, and magic mushrooms

Customs officials at the UPS Bond seized two parcels after canine Stan made a positive indication towards two packages. Addressed to a residence in Naxxar and Mosta, the packages contained 2.65kg of cannabis between them.

In a separate case, an inbound package addressed to a residence in St Julian's was thoroughly searched and was found to contain 15 white stops contain groups of suspected cannabis seeds. There were also two small plastic bags containing other suspected cannabis seeds and another two bags containing magic mushrooms. 

At the Air Malta Cargo Shed, canine Zekkin indicated towards a small envelope found in a sack of various letters and documents. The envelope was addressed to a residence in Grenoble, France, and contained a postcard with two small plastic bags containing cannabis.

Customs informed the Police Anti-Drug Squad about the finds and packages, and the envelope was handed over the police for further investigation.