(Rome) Italian customs police announced on Monday that they had recovered two tonnes of cocaine, worth 400 million euros, packaged in bales drifting in the open sea near Sicily.

No less than 70 hermetically sealed packages containing 1,600 bars of cocaine were spotted and recovered off the eastern coast of the Mediterranean island.

This is “one of the largest drug seizures ever made on national territory,” the customs police said in a statement.

The bundles were linked together by a thick rope and equipped with a light signaling system.

According to the investigators, these elements suggest that “the drugs were probably thrown into the sea by a cargo ship to be later recovered and transported to the mainland”.

Drug trafficking in Europe is largely controlled by the Ndrangheta, a powerful Mafia from Calabria, which shares the market with other criminal groups according to their location and their specialties (logistics, protection, money laundering, etc.).

Europol today estimates the annual cocaine retail market on the old continent at between 7.6 and 10.5 billion euros.