The cargo that had a street value of over 400 million euros ($440 million), worth of cocaine has been found floating off Sicily in packages likely left by a cargo ship for traffickers to bring ashore, Italian police said Monday.
In “one of the largest” drug hauls ever made in Italy, police intercepted 70 packages, which were tied together and contained around two tonnes (2,000 kilogrammes) of cocaine, off Sicily’s eastern coast.
The packages, made up of around 1,600 bricks of drugs, and sporting a tracking device, were spotted by a navy surveillance plane, police said.
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They were “probably left at sea by one of the cargo ships frequenting that stretch of coastline, to be subsequently recovered and transported to the mainland,” it said in a statement.
The cargo had a street value of over 400 million euros ($440 million), it said.
Although Sicily is home to the Cosa Nostra mafia immortalised in the Godfather films, the country’s leading organised crime group is the wealthy and powerful ‘Ndrangheta.
The ‘Ndrangheta is based in the Calabria region across the Strait of Messina from Sicily, and is heavily involved in drug trafficking, controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe.