€69 million in Colombian cocaine stopped by Malta Customs

Largest drug haul ever: 612 kg of cocaine in cargo that left Ecuador and transited through Colombia before being intercepted en route to Libya

The Customs Department has this afternoon seized a record volume of drugs, with a street value of €69 million.

With 612kg of cocaine discovered, this is the largest ever drug haul in Malta's history. 

The discovery took place at the Freeport, with the cocaine concealed within pallets carrying cooking oil. The cargo had left Ecuador and transited through Colombia before being interceġted by Customs en route to Libya.

A physical inspection was carried out on a container load after discrepancies were found in the scanning image of the cargo. The pallets carrying the freight appeared dense compared to regular images, leading officials to offload and dismantle one of the pallets. 

The inspection led to the discovery of packets concealed within the pallet structure, the packets containing a white substance that gave a positive indication for cocaine. 

Overall, 510 packets were elevated weighing in at 1.2kg each. This totalled to a 612kg haul with a streat value of €69 million.

"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," a Customs statement reads.

The case was handed over to the Police Drug Squad for further investigations, and a duty magistrate was informed of the case. 

The news was initially divulged in parliament on Wednesday evening by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, who applauded the department that falls under his wing for its action.

“I wish to applaud the Customs Department for making a record drug seizure in the past hours equivalent to the amount normally seized in a whole year… The value runs into tens of millions of euro,” he told parliament.

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