Italian police bust ring planning to smuggle 8 tonnes of cocaine

ROME (Reuters) - Italian anti-mafia police said on Tuesday (Jan 24) they had broken up an international drug ring that was conspiring to smuggle about eight tonnes of cocaine to Europe from Colombia.

Fifty-four people with links to the 'Ndrangheta, the organised crime group based in the southern Calabria region, were arrested in various parts of Italy, they said in a statement.

The haul, confiscated in a plantation near the Caribbean port of Turbo, would have had a total street value of about 1.6 billion euros (S$2.44 billion), officials said.

The drugs were to be smuggled into Europe via Calabrian ports and airports. What police called a "test run" of 63kg of pure cocaine was found hidden in a load of bananas in the central Italian port city of Livorno.