Investigations are still ongoing after a drugs haul that netted just under 290 kilos of cocaine that was concealed in fruit containers that were unloaded at the Freeport. TVM is informed that as part of the investigations includes contacts being made with South American and European countries where the consignment was destined. The consignment is estimated to have a street value of €32 million. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described this second largest cocaine haul by Customs as proof that Malta is taking a strong stand in the international fight against drugs trafficking.
In order to protect the interests of the investigations, strict confidentiality is being maintained as to the cocaine’s country of origin and its eventual intended destination while contact is being made with the countries concerned.
From information obtained by TVM this was the first time that an illegal consignment of drugs came from South America, was due to transit in Malta, and then to proceed to a destination in central Europe.
The drugs were distributed in 240 packets in four containers filled with bananas. Customs said these were concealed in parts of the compressor and between the double walls of the deep-freeze container.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat showed his appreciation for the work being carried out by the Maltese and overseas authorities because this was dealing a strong blow to the operations of an international drugs circle.
Dr Muscat said this showed the strength of the country’s credibility and the serious stance it is taking against international trafficking. He thanked Customs, the Police, security services and all those concerned in the work being done.
While the case is now in the hands of the Anti-Drugs Squad, a Magisterial Inquiry has been launched with the assistance of the Police Forensic Unit. The Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi in a media conference said the investment of €2 million in a special scanner for Customs has once more proved its value while Minister Mizzi said investigations for drugs trafficking at the airport are to be intensified.
Customs Director General Joe Chetcuti said that over the last 13 months there have been seizures of 16,000 kilos of cannabis resin and 633 kilos of cocaine. He said the total street value of these hauls reaches €123 million. He said that such efforts are intercepting illegal drugs from entering Malta as well as other countries.