Customs on Sunday discovered 610kg of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas at the Malta Freeport. 

The cocaine was packed in 610 packets weighing 1kg each.

The container they were in was singled out by the Customs Monitoring Unit following a meticulous risk assessment of units transiting through the Malta Freeport.

Officials at the scanning facility flagged discrepancies in the image of a unit transporting bananas that had departed from Guayaquil in Ecuador and was en route to Batumi in Georgia.

Customs officials, together with members of the Malta Police Drug Squad opened the reefer container and physically inspected all boxes.

A total of 20 boxes of bananas were found to contain 20 packets of cocaine each, while another 10 boxes contained 21 packets each. The estimated street value of the drugs is €100.6 million.

Once the drugs were seized, the case was handed over to the Malta Police Drug Force for further investigation.

Duty Magistrate Monica Vella is leading an inquiry.   

Video: Customs

Customs said in a statement that over the past three years it had seized the following amounts of cocaine:

2019: a total of 750kg in 13 separate seizures

2020: 612kg in 1 seizure

2021: 740kg in 1 seizure

2022: 800kg, a record-breaking 1,494kg, and 610kg in three separate seizures

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