First of its kind drug bust: 60kg cocaine paste worth €11 million seized at Freeport

Customs said the drugs were found in a container travelling from South America to the Middle East

The customs department said the seizure was the first of its kind in Malta and possibly Europe
The customs department said the seizure was the first of its kind in Malta and possibly Europe

Customs officials have seized a shipment of cocaine estimated to be worth €11 million at the Malta Freeport in an operation described as being unique and intricate. 

In a statement, the department said that on late on Monday afternoon, officials stationed at the Container Monitoring Unit “flagged a container for a thorough examination due to its suspicious route”.

The 20’ container, customs said, left a South American country and stopped in Malta on its way to the Middle East. The container was declared to have been carrying 532 drums of water-proofing compound, customs said, adding that irregularities were then noticed once the container was scanned.

562 drums in the container were then inspected, with six being found to contain “plastic bags full of a white substance in paste form not powder, submerged in an oily liquid.

Customs said that a preliminary narcotics field-test indicated that the substance was cocaine of high purity. “Laborious laboratory analysis carried out yesterday, including a long drying process of the substance, have proved that the cocaine purity level is 100%.”

The department said that due to its purity, the seizure was conservatively estimated to be worth between €9 million and €11 million. The seizure is being considered unique and intricate in nature, customs said. “It is definitely the first of its kind in Malta and probably in Europe too.”

The case has been handed over to the Police Anti Drug Squad who are conducting investigations.

A duty magistrate is leading an inquiry assisted by a team of experts from the Police Forensic Unit  

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