Malta Independent

Customs Department seizes 144kg of cocaine in containers at Freeport


The Customs Department on Saturday seized 144 kilos of cocaine from three more reefer containers at Malta Freeport.

The discovery is the fourth major achievemen­t for the department after Sunday 7 April’s cocaine haul of 91.2 kilos, Tuesday 9 April’s seizure of 24 kilos and Sunday 14 April’s haul of 91.25 kilos of cocaine, the department says.

In the early hours of Saturday, the Customs Container Monitoring Unit selected several containers for scanning. Following preliminar­y scans carried out by the Customs Scanning Team, irregulari­ties in three of the reefer containers were noticed, pointing to narcotics hidden in the refrigeran­t compressor unit. A physical search confirmed preliminar­y suspicions.

The first two containers, which were both transhippi­ng Malta from South America en-route to the port of Durres, Albania, each contained 20 packets of cocaine, weighing 48 kilos, with a street value of €5.4 million.

In the third container, customs officials found 80 packets of cocaine, weighing 96 kilos and a street value of €10.8 million. This container was transhippi­ng Malta from South America en-route to the Port of Bar, Montenegro.

The twelve-hour operation was the result of a concerted effort between the employees of the Customs Department, the Malta Police Force and Malta Freeport. The Customs Department would also like to thank members of the Armed Forces of Malta for their assistance.

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

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