A three-tonne haul of cocaine worth USD 700 million has been seized by police after it was found stashed inside a shipment of bananas.
Italian trafficking police discovered the 2,734 kilogrammes (6,027 lbs) shipment of pure cocaine as it arrived at Port of Gioia Tauro, Calabria, in a container ship.
Video footage of the search shows drug sniffer dogs locating the drug hidden inside cases of bananas from a ship that had arrived from Ecuador.
The ship, say police, had been due to take the load onwards to the Black Sea port of Batumi in Georgia, and to then end up in Armenia.
Police from Italy’s specialist trafficking and financial crime police – Guardia di Finanza – seized the haul and confiscated it for destruction.
They said in a statement obtained by Newsflash on 16th May: “Because of the large quantities, more than 30 officers of the Guardia di Finanza had to be used to transport the drugs to their place of destruction.”
In addition, police said they also had earlier discovered a further 600 kilogrammes (1,320 lbs) of cocaine in fruit containers from Ecuador.
These were reportedly being shipped through Gioia Tauro, and were destined for other parts of Italy, Croatia, Greece and Georgia.
Police explained: “The concealment methods are often different and always evolving, which means investigators have to adapt.”
A total of 37 tonnes (81,571 lbs) of cocaine have been seized at the Port of Gioia Tauro since January 2021.