In a landmark operation, the Guardia di Finanza of Palermo confiscated over 5.3 tons of cocaine, marking the largest drug seizure in Italy’s history. This significant operation resulted in the arrest of five individuals, including an Italian, two Tunisians, a Frenchman, and an Albanian.
High Seas Takedown: Record Cocaine Seizure in Italy
The operation featured a concerted attempt to stop illegal maritime trafficking by the Provincial Command of Palermo and the Corps’ aero-naval division. Utilizing aviation and naval resources, as well as the Palermo Economic and Financial Police Unit’s investigation assistance, the large cocaine cargo was successfully intercepted.
The course of the inquiry resulted in the discovery of a “mother ship” poised to conduct an unauthorized transhipment with a fishing vessel. Authorities arrested the fishing boat after seeing suspicious activity, and inside they discovered a massive amount of cocaine deftly concealed under paneling.
As the “mother ship” tried to escape and head toward Turkey, the naval troops chased it. Ultimately, they escorted the vessel and its 15-person crew back to the port of Palermo.
The more than 5.3 tons of cocaine that were found, with a market value of more than 850 million euros, were enough to supply the whole domestic market. The accused are now being detained at the “Pagliarelli” jail in Palermo.
The operation underlines both the Mediterranean water’s susceptibility to illicit trafficking and the Guardia di Finanza’s critical function as the “police of the sea.” They are essential for defending Italy’s commercial and financial interests as well as the security of the European Union thanks to their integrated territorial investigative and aero-naval capabilities.