Massive €32 million cocaine bust inside Malta Freeport

Cocaine worth €32.4 million seized by Customs, concealed in four containers and weighing 288kgs


Customs Officials on duty at the Customs Scanning Facility at the Malta Freeport, have once again made a sizeable seizure of narcotics.

In the early hours of Tuesday, 12 refridgerated containers were flagged by the Container Monitoring Unit due to their high risk route. Following the scanning of said containers using state-of-the-art equipment, it resulted that three of them contained hidden packets in the refridgerant compressor compartment, while the other shipment of drugs was concealed behind paneling of an inner compartment.

The four containers were subsequently checked physically and found to contain:

·        Container number one - 37 packets of cocaine, weighing 44.4kgs, with an approximate street value of €5 million;

·        Container number two -  54 packets of cocaine, weighing 64.8kgs, with an approximate street value of €7.3 million;

·        Container number three - 69 packets of cocaine, weighing 82.8kgs, with an approximate street value of €9.3 million;

·        Container number four - 80 packets of cocaine, weighing 96kg, with an approximate street value of €10.8 million.

A total of 240 packets, weighing 288kg, were elevated, wiping out €32.4 million of cocaine off the streets.

All four reefer containers were carrying fruit and transited through Malta from South America, en route to an EU member state.

The case was handed over to the Police Anti Drug Squad, who are conducting the investigations. The duty magistrate is leading the inquiry assisted by a team of experts from the Police Forensics Unit.

"The Customs Department would like to express its gratitude towards the Malta Police force, the Security Services of the Freeport Corporation, and the Logistics Department of the Freeport Terminals LTD for their cooperation during this intensive operation on a public holiday," Customs said in a statement.

Other big cocaine hauls were made by Customs last year.

In February of 2018, 100kg of cocaine were detected in a container at the Freeport and sent under controlled delivery  to Croatia, where a huge criminal gang was arrested. In November, 44kg of pure cocaine was found in a container reefer arriving from Equador. Another €5 million worth of cocaine was found in container headed to Greece in December.