Italy seizes ton of cocaine from Brazil

2010-11-15 18:04

Rome - Italian police seized a ton of pure cocaine worth up to €250m on Monday in a container unloaded off a merchant ship coming from Brazil, in a joint inquiry with British police.

"This is the biggest cocaine seizure in Italy in the last 15 years," Salvatore Cagnazzo, the Carabinieri paramilitary police commander in charge of the investigation, told AFP in a phone interview.

The cocaine, with an estimated value of between €200m and €250m, was found hidden inside four tractors unloaded from the Italian ship in the port of Gioia Tauro in southern Italy.

"We tracked down the machinery with the help of Soca," he said, referring to Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency. "When we put it through the scanners we discovered the drugs stashed in the metal tubes."

Investigators said the seizure confirmed the existence of a new route for drug trafficking through the southern Italian region of Calabria where Gioia Tauro is located instead of through Dutch ports.

"We are facing a new flow in the drug market," anti-mafia prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo told reporters in Rome.

"The drug traffic previously passed through northern Europe, through Dutch ports. In this case the traffickers used a port in Calabria," he added.

Gioia Tauro is one of the biggest commercial ports in Europe.

The drugs were apparently destined for Britain, the Netherlands and the Lombardy region of northern Italy, investigators said.

Cagnazzo said that no arrests have been made in the raid.

  • Valis - 2010-11-15 19:31

    ...and the other 99 tons got through safely.

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