The global narcotics trade may have been dealt a solid blow with the seizure of about two tonnes (2,000 kilogrammes) of cocaine in one fell swoop by Italian authorities.
Officials declared on Monday that the stash was allegedly found wrapped in waterproof packages and dumped in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, off the eastern coast of Sicily.
The haul reportedly has a street value of about €400 million ($440 million), and is thought to have been offloaded by a cargo ship for traffickers to run ashore.
The drugs were stored in about 70 waterproof packages and carefully sealed, according to the Italian Guardia di Finanza in a statement.
The Tax and Customs authorities called it a “record” seizure.
The Police described the intercepted narcotics as “one of the largest drug hauls ever made in Italy”.
Guardia di Finanza added that the bundles were held together by fishermen’s nets and equipped with a luminous signaling device to facilitate tracking of the consignment.
A Navy surveillance aircraft reportedly spotted the packages comprising about 1,600 bricks of drugs floating in the waters and alerted the Police.
The Police statement noted that the “peculiar packaging methods and the presence of a luminous device to allow tracking” suggested that the haul was dumped at sea “by one of the cargo ships frequenting that stretch of coastline to be subsequently recovered and transported to the mainland”.
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