Malta’s customs service intercepted 740 kilograms (1,630 pounds) of cocaine on Tuesday in a record drug seizure for the Mediterranean island nation, officials said.
The drug, with an estimated market value of 100 million euros, was hidden in a 40-foot refrigerated container containing 1,080 boxes of bananas, Maltese customs said in a statement.
The container was en route from Ecuador to Slovenia and was selected for screening while in transit through Malta Freeport, an international transshipment hub at the south-eastern tip of Malta, the department said.
“The officials opened the refrigerated container and began to physically inspect all the boxes and subsequently raised 740 packets of a white substance hidden in 37 boxes, which gave a positive indication of the high purity cocaine. “said Customs Malta. The packages carried a net weight of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) each and were concealed within the fruit boxes.
Customs officials said the amount seized exceeded Malta’s previous record at the end of last year of 612 kilograms (1,350 pounds) of cocaine, which was hidden in pallets carrying cooking oil.
“This latest seizure is historic both in size and in its market value, which has been estimated at between 90 and 100 million euros,” Customs Malta said.
The case has been referred to the Maltese police for investigation. There was no information about any arrests.