Customs’ drug bust: 10 tonnes of cannabis resin worth €28.5 million inside container ship

‘Largest ever drug find in Malta’ as over 15 tonnes of cannabis resin intercepted at Malta Freeport inside container ship sailing to Libya

The cannabis resin was hidden inside a container
The cannabis resin was hidden inside a container

Maltese Customs have uncovered what has been termed by a government statement as the largest ever drug find in Malta.

According to information received by MaltaToday, over 15 tonnes of cannabis resin was seized while in transit at the Malta Freeport on a container ship that had left Syria and was sailing to Libya.

The Maltese government said in a statement that the container ship had been followed for days before its arrival in Malta and the intervention of Customs officers.

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Customs officers were inspecting four containers at the Malta Freeport. Three of the containers were declared to be carrying pails of crockery detergent, while the other container was declared to carry blow-torches.

The containers, which were transiting through Malta on their way from Syria to Libya, were flagged as 'potential high risk containers' following risk analysis performed by the Malta Customs Container Monitoring Unit. All four containers were scanned by the ZBV backscatter scanner, and subsequently by the Nuctech x-ray scanner. In both occasions, all pails of detergent produced inconsistency in the image.

Upon physical inspection, Customs officials uncovered bundles of brown substance hidden within the detergent. Following a narcotics field-test, conducted by Customs officials, there was a positive indication for cannabis resin.

Initial indications suggest that the quantity of cannabis resin detected amount to circa 10 to 11 tonnes, with a street value of approximately €28.5 million.

Customs officials requested the assistance of the Police Anti-Drug Squad and the Malta Police Forensic Section who are now handling and investigating the case.

"Although the investigations are still underway, the haul is definitely the largest of its kind in Malta, both in quantity and in value," the Customs department said.

​A magisterial inquiry is underway.