Italian Police Seize The Country’s Largest Shipment Of Cocaine In 25 Years
When people buy cocaine, it usually comes in a tiny plastic bag with about a gram of the white stuff.
It's probably tough to tell from the photo, but it was about 2.5 tonnes of the devil's dust in two separate sting operations, making it the largest seizure of the drug in Italy in 25 years.
Around 1.9 tonnes was discovered in the container in Genoa, in the country's north, and about 644kgs was found earlier this month in Livorno.
If weight doesn't accurately capture the amount of coke then maybe street value will: roughly £438 million ($574m).
It's actually more than double the total amount of cocaine seized by Italian authorities for the whole of last year.
According to Sky News, the duffle bags were intercepted on the way from South America and Italian authorities were helped by their Colombian counterparts in the operation.
But instead of just seizing the drugs and calling it a day, the crafty police officers replaced the bags with salt and sent the shipment to its intended destination in Spain.
From there they nabbed the recipients and hope to gain further insights to how traffickers get the illicit substance past their noses.
Euronews reports the 'Gulf Clan', a Colombian drug cartel, was responsible for sending the shipment. It first went to Honduras before being transferred to two ships in Costa Rica and then made its way to Europe.
British police had a similar cocaine haul last year when agents from the National Crime Agency raided a vessel, the SY Marcia, at Newlyn Harbour after identifying it out at sea and using Border Force ships to intercept it.
A total of two tonnes was found.
National Crime Agency regional head of investigations, Andy Quinn, released a statement that said: "This is a huge haul of class A drugs, one of the largest seizures of class A ever in the UK, and with a potential street value likely to be in the hundreds of millions.
"While the end destination is unclear at this stage, I've no doubt that this was destined for the European market.
"At least a proportion of this cocaine would have ended up here in the UK, sold by drugs gangs who are also involved in intimidation, exploitation and violence.
"This seizure will be a major hit to the international criminal networks involved."
Featured Image Credit: Italian Police