Italian police on Thursday, January 31, announced they had seized over 2 tonnes of pure cocaine from Colombia in the largest drug bust in Italy of the past twenty-five years.
The drugs, with a street value of about 500 million euros (US$574 million), had been discovered last week packed into sixty bags at Port Genoa in a TEU container from South America destined for Barcelona, Spain.
Image: Port of Genoa (Italy)
A police statement said in reference to the famed drug cartel of Colombia, that the drugs belonged to a number of drug-trafficking organizations associated with an armed group popular as the "Gulf Clan," which accounts for about 70% of Colombia's cocaine production. The clan uses violence and intimidation in order to control cocaine processing laboratories, departure points, and narcotics trafficking routes.
According to media reports, police replaced the 1801 packets of pure cocaine with salt and then sent the cargo on its way in a ploy to hold the drug runners. A 59-year old Spanish national was later arrested in Barcelona when he tried to collect the shipment.
Once in Spain, the drug was destined to supply the European market.