Huge £350million haul of cocaine is found floating off Sicily

Huge £350million haul of cocaine is found floating in waterproof packages off Sicily in one of Italy’s biggest ever drugs seizures

  • The haul was spotted by surveillance plane as it was searching for migrant boats
  • More than 70 waterproof packages were found floating tied together with rope 

This is the dramatic moment police seized more than £350million worth of cocaine found floating in the Mediterranean.

The two ton haul was spotted by a surveillance plane as it flew over the sea between Italy and Greece looking for migrant boats.

Hidden inside more than 70 waterproof packages and tied together with rope and floatation devices the drugs also had a tracking device attached so they could be easily found.

The drugs were found in an area between Messina and Catania off the eastern coast of Sicily but police are refusing to be more specific as they continue searching for other packages.

Officials said it was one of the largest hauls of cocaine ever found in Italy and had probably been dropped at sea by a cargo ship and was due to have been picked up by local criminal gangs.

 

The two ton haul was spotted by a surveillance plane as it flew over the sea between Italy and Greece looking for migrant boats

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.

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,’ they said.

The Mafia organises drug importation into Sicily and onwards through Italy and the rest of Europe but police are also investigating the possibility it may have been bound for the wealthy and powerful ‘Ndrangheta organised crime group.

Although Sicily is home to the Cosa Nostra mafia immortalised in the Godfather films, the country’s leading organised crime group is the ‘Ndrangheta.

Based on the Italian mainland in the southern Calabria region they have direct links to the cocaine producing cartels in Columbia and the rest of South America.

The group controls the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe. 

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 

An Italian police source told MailOnline: ‘This is one of the biggest seizures of cocaine on our national territory and has a value of more than 400 million Euros.

‘The drugs were packed into waterproof packets and all tied together with rope and held securely together,’ they said. Therefore, they noted it would have been ‘difficult for the consignment to have split up.

‘There was a tracking device attached which was luminous as well so that it could easily be spotted in the dark. Experts are examine this device to see what it can reveal about the origins but we are working on the theory it was thrown overboard from a cargo vessel to be picked up later.’

The ‘peculiar packaging methods and the presence of a luminous device to allow tracking’ suggest the haul was dumped at sea by a cargo ship in order for it to be recovered later, a statement the police added. 

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