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Lines of cocaine and a rolled-up banknote
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/LEHTIKUVA/J. Nukari

Italy makes biggest cocaine bust in 25 years

January 31, 2019

This week Italian authorities intercepted a whopping €630 million ($721 million) in international cocaine shipments. The cocaine was seized in Italian ports on shipments from Latin America to Spain.


Italian police said Thursday 2.1 tons of pure cocaine with a street value of 500 million ($575 million) had been seized at the port of Genoa.

The cocaine cakes were discovered in 60 bags inside a container heading from Colombia to Barcelona in Spain via Italy.

Read more: Cocaine in Germany: The 'South American tsunami' 

"The seizure, worth about half a billion euros, is the largest recorded in Italy in the last 25 years," Italian police said in a statement.

The find was made on January 23, but was only made public later.

Authorities determined that the drugs belonged to various drug-trafficking organizations associated with the Gulf Clan, a Colombian drug cartel responsible for about 70 percent of Colombia's cocaine.

Read more: Colombia's coca cultivation at record level as cocaine problem grows 

A 59-year-old man was arrested in Barcelona as part of the operation, which also involved Colombian, Spanish and British authorities.

The announcement of the huge drug haul comes after Italian authorities on Wednesday said they had seized 650 kilos (1,400 pounds) of pure cocaine valued at 130 million at the port of Livorno.

The cocaine was found on January 15 in nearly two dozen large bags inside a container of coffee beans shipped from Honduras with a transfer in Costa Rica. Its final destination was Barcelona. 

cw/ng (AFP, AP, dpa)

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