Over €110 million in cannabis, coke and ecstasy seized in Malta since 2015

Between 2015 and October 2020, Malta Customs seized over 17,500kgs of drugs, worth €110.2 million

The interception of large quantities of cocaine, cannabis resin and increasingly heroin transported by sea in containers is raising concerns on the infiltration by organised crime groups of logistical supply chains, shipping routes and large ports, the Malta Customs has said.

Between 2015 and 2020, Malta Customs seized drugs worth over €110.2 million in street value.

These comprised: 16,385 kgs of cannabis; 1,142 kgs of cocaine; 5.4 kgs of khat; 2.6 kgs of synthetic drugs; 2.4 kgs of heroin; and 404 ecstasy pills.

“Considering that business related with narcotics may provide links to global organised crime groups, Malta Customs has been disseminating all the information pertaining to these seizures to foreign counterparts and investigative institutions,” the department said.

Around 1.3 million seizures were reported in 2018 in Europe, with cannabis products most often seized. In 2018 the quantity of cannabis resin seized in the European Union rose to 668 tonnes from 468 tonnes in 2017. A number of countries, that generally seize small quantities, including Malta, showed considerable increases in 2018.

The quantity of cocaine seized in the European Union reached the highest levels ever recorded in 2018, amounting to 181 tonnes (138 tonnes in 2017). In 2018 the amount of heroin seized in the European Union increased to 9.7 tonnes, up from 5.2 tonnes.

In Malta, 118 traffickers were arraigned in court in 2015, 108 in 2016, 60 in 2017, 107 in 2018, 164 in 2019 and 65, so far, in 2020.

The number of persons arraigned for possession was 408 in 2015, 659 in 2016, 634 in 2017, 506 in 2018, 387 in 2019 and 117, so far in 2020.