A large amount of cocaine with the aim of Germany have seized investigators in Italy. Nearly 1,200 kilograms, worth more than € 250 million, have been discovered in banana boxes in the port of Gioia Tauro in the southern Italian region of Calabria, the police said. The cargo was reportedly from South America.
"It's one of the biggest drug seizures ever made on the national territory," the statement said. The 1176 kilos of cocaine were discovered on Monday in 144 green packs in a refrigerated container. For which area in Germany the drugs were intended, was not known. Pure cocaine is often stretched with other substances to three times the amount before it goes on the market.
The container port in Gioia Tauro is one of the world's major cocaine hubs. In the past twelve months alone, more than 2.5 tons of cocaine have been confiscated there, according to the police. The Calabrian Mafia 'Ndrangheta, which is regarded as a powerful criminal organization in the worldwide drug trade, is particularly involved in the business.
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The drugs usually come to Europe via ship routes and are often hidden in banana or coffee cargoes. For example, in April 2018, the Spanish police found just under nine tonnes of cocaine in the port city of Algeciras. It was the largest amount ever discovered and seized in containers in Europe, said Spain's then Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido.
The Belgian police found in the summer almost two tonnes of cocaine in the port of Ghent. In the Port of Hamburg, customs seized the record amount of four and a half tons of cocaine in the summer.
According to a UN drug report referring to 2017, 271 million people worldwide use drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, opium or synthetic substances. Compared to 2009, the number of consumers has increased by 30 percent.