Italian police seizes record 5-tonne cocaine, Crew arrested

Italy´s police are reporting the seizure of more than 5.3 tons of cocaine which is the largest cocaine seizure, as they describe it, ever carried out on the entire national territory and one of the most significant worldwide.

The over 5.3 tons of cocaine seized, intended to supply the entire national market, would have yielded revenues of over 850 million euros.

The consignment had an estimated value of 850 million euros and five people have been arrested, the Guardia di Finanza said in a statement.

The merchant ship registered in Palau was caught red-handed while attempting to combat illicit trafficking at sea. In particular cocaine load was dropped into the sea, to be recovered by a fishing vessel, which in the meantime had deactivated the AIS location signal.

The police are reporting that the ship was waiting for the fishing vessel, probably for an illicit transhipment.

It is also revealed that an Italian, a Frenchman, an Albanian, and two Tunisians were all handed over to prosecutors and are currently in an Italian jail. The fishing boat was taken to Porto Empedocle.

The Italian forces also began to pursue the merchant ship, which by this time was attempting to escape. It was trying to enter international waters and heading in the direction of Turkey when the Italian forces were able to intercept the vessel. 

The ship had 15 crew with Ukrainian, Turkish and Azeri nationality.

The Mediterranean Sea is confirmed as one of the world’s basins most affected by illicit trafficking, Italy´s Guardia di Finanza said.

It should be noted that the provisions in question were issued on the basis of the probative elements acquired during the preliminary investigation phase, therefore, pending the definitive judgment, the presumption of innocence exists, as it is furthermore said.