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€52,481 in undeclared cash, 30,825 contraband cigarettes and several packages containing drugs seized by Customs

Customs Officials seized a total of €52,481 in undeclared cash from 4 passengers, two travelling to Sicily and two to Istanbul

Customs Officials stopped two passengers boarding the ferry to Sicily after suspicion was raised. Charlie, the Customs Canine, made a positive indication that an Italian passenger was carrying undeclared cash. When asked how much cash he was carrying, the passenger replied that he had around €5,000-€7,000 but further investigations led to the passenger presenting a total of €11,760.

A Syrian passenger, who was also travelling by ferry to Sicily, was stopped by Customs Officials for a currency control. When asked how much cash he was carrying, the passenger replied that he had less than €10,000 in his wallet and luggage, but further investigations revealed that he was in fact in possession of €10,990.

Two other passengers travelling to Istanbul were stopped at the MIA departures lounge after routine screening checks. A Ghanaian passenger was stopped by Customs Officials and when asked how much money he was carrying, he replied he had around €14,000. The passenger was escorted for a thorough search which resulted in a find of €19,091 in total.

A Burmese passenger was also found to be carrying undeclared cash after Customs Canine Gypsy made a positive indication. When asked how much money he was carrying, the passenger replied around $11,000 but a thorough search led to the discovery of $12,475 and €270 which convert to a total of €10,910.

All four passengers were presented an out-of-court settlement to which they agreed to and signed and were administered a fine.

30,825 contraband cigarettes seized by Customs from shop and private residence

Customs Officials seized a total of 30,825 cigarettes from a shop in Imsida, a private residence and garages in Żejtun. Customs Officials seized 13,800 contraband cigarettes from a private garage in Żejtun. The cigarettes, Business Royals Red, were all found without an excise stamp affixed on them. Following this find, Customs Officials on duty also searched the residence adjacent to the garage whereby another 198 contraband cigarettes were found in the kitchen and bedroom.

Further surveillance of the area led the Officials to notice a van in front of the same searched residence stopping in front of another garage situated in another street. Customs Officials approched the van driver and asked him to open the garage door. This third search led to the discovery of 16,400 Business Royals Red contraband cigarettes which were subsequently witheld.

In a separate case, another 427 contraband cigarettes were seized from an Indian shop in Imsida. The cigarettes were found under the shop counter and were of the brand L&M Blue and Gala American Blend. The shop owner stated that the witheld items were bought from a Maltese man who distributed them directly to his shop but he had no invoices to provide to Customs Department.

Both cases are being investigated.

17 bags of Cannabis seeds, several bags of Cannabis and 2 bags of magic mushrooms seized by Customs

Customs officials at the UPS Bond seized two parcels after Customs Canine Stan made a positive indication towards two packages. When opened, the two packages addressed to a residence in Naxxar and Mosta, were found to be containing 2.65Kg Cannabis in total.

In a separate case, an inbound package, addressed to a residence in St Julian’s, was thoroughly searched and was found to contain 15 white strips containing groups of suspected cannabis seeds, two small plastic bags containing other suspected cannabis seeds and two small plastic bags containing magic mushrooms.

At the Air Malta Cargo Shed, Customs Canine Zekkin also made an indication on a small envelope which was in a sack containing various letters and documents. The envelope was addressed to a residence in Grenoble, France and when opened contained a postcard with 2 small plastic bags containing Cannabis.

The Police Anti-Drug Squad were duly informed about the finds and the packages and envelope were handed over to the police for further investigation.