On Monday 11 November 2019, the Italian Carabinieri (Carabinieri) and the Italian Finance Corps (Guardia di Finanza), supported by Italian Customs, Europol and Frontex, seized 1 176 kg of cocaine worth €250 million in the Port of Gioia Tauro, southwest Italy. The shipping documents show that the container was destined for Germany.
The seized cocaine was hidden in 144 packages within a case of bananas stored in a refrigerated container. The drugs were detected after the Italian Finance Corps and Customs authorities performed an extensive risk analysis to several vessels and containers arriving at the port of Gioia Tauro. The case was then referred to the Antimafia District Prosecution Office.
This seizure confirms the port of Gioia Tauro as a major hub for the transit of cocaine trafficked to western Europe. This is also shown in other recent Italian investigations against ‘Ndrangheta criminal structures active in the transnational cocaine trafficking.
In the past 12 months alone, the Italian Finance Corps and the Customs Agency have seized over 2.5 tonnes of cocaine passing through this port.
Europol and Frontex provided technical and operational assistance. The early deployment on-the-spot of Europol experts facilitated the immediate exchange of information with other potentially affected EU Member States.