100kg of cocaine seized in international operation involving Malta Customs

Nine people arrested in Croatia following the seizure

A consignment of some 100 kilograms of cocaine has been intercepted in Rijeka, Croatia, in an operation which inluded Malta’s Customs Department.

The operation, which was over a number of weeks, also included the participation of customs authorities in France, Spain and Croatia, as well as the Croatian police.

Customs said in a statement that, for a number of weeks, a container full of metal scrap on its way from South America to Europe was being observed and on arriving at Algericas in Spain, the decision was taken to keep it under strict surveillance until its arrival in Malta.

During its short stop in Malta, scans using Malta Customs department's newest equipment showed that parts of the shipment contained some suspicious content.

Rather than examine the container in Malta, authorities here agreed with their counterparts overseas to send the scans to Rijeka and release the container under strict surveillance for it to arrive intact in Croatia.

Once the container was physically examined, some 100 kilogrammes of cocaine were found hidden in its iron structures.

The container was released on March 6. However, it continued to be followed until the Croatian police intervened in Zagreb, where nine people were arrested. These included six Croats, one person each from the Netherlands, Spain, Columbia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Investigations have been widened and also include the Slovenian, German and the Dutch police.