Italy thwarts Colombian cartel with massive cocaine haul

January 31, 2019 4:24 pm
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The raid followed an international investigation involving police from Colombia, Britain and Spain © Guardia di Finanza press office/AFP / Handout

, Rome, Italy, Jan 31 – Italian police on Thursday said they had seized over two tonnes of pure cocaine from Colombia in the biggest drug bust in Italy of the past 25 years.

The drugs, with a street value of around 500 million euros ($574 million), were discovered last week packed into 60 bags at the port of Genoa in a container from the South American country destined for Barcelona in Spain.

“The drugs belonged to several drug-trafficking organisations associated with the armed group known as the ‘Gulf Clan’,” the police statement said in reference to Colombia’s famed drug cartel.

The Gulf Clan accounts for about 70 percent of Colombia’s cocaine production and uses violence and intimidation to control narcotics trafficking routes, cocaine processing laboratories and departure points.

The raid followed an international investigation involving police from Colombia, Britain and Spain.

The haul followed the news Wednesday that Italian police had discovered almost 650 kilos (1,400 pounds) of cocaine in a shipping container of coffee beans in one of the biggest busts of the past 10 years.

That batch, found in 23 large bags during a search at the port of Livorno in Tuscany, has a street value of 130 million euros ($148.7 million).

The cocaine, discovered on January 15, was in a container that had set off from Honduras, before being transferred to another cargo ship in Costa Rica. Its final destination was Barcelona, police said.

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