Italian officials have reported the discovery of cocaine worth approximately $440 million floating in the waters off the coast of Sicily. According to the Italian police, this is one of the biggest drug seizures ever recorded in the country.
The drug haul was divided into 70 waterproof packages and included a luminous tracking device, as per BBC News.
The illicit cargo was first spotted by a maritime surveillance aircraft.
The “peculiar packaging methods and the presence of a luminous device to allow tracking” led authorities to suspect the shipment had been dumped into the water by a cargo ship so that it could be picked up later by another party, Italy’s Guardia di Finanza said in a Monday statement.
The military police force has shared a video on their Twitter page that highlights the massive quantity of drugs seized. However, officials did not disclose any information on the potential crime group responsible for this operation.
The notorious Cosa Nostra syndicate has long dominated organized crime in Sicily, with a history dating back to the 19th century. Once the most influential mafia group in all of Italy, their criminal activities extend to the United States and beyond. Another group believed to be responsible for a large share of the drug trade in Europe is the ‘Ndrangheta crime group.
According to a think-tank, the ‘Ndrangheta earns billions of dollars annually, surpassing the combined profits of McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank.