The Ambassador of Italy in Barcelona, Carlo Formosa, met today with the Executive Director of the MAOC (Maritime Analysis and Operations Center Narcotics), Sjoerd Top, to take stock of the situation on the Center’s activity and in particular on the contribution that the Italy is giving to the crackdown on illicit drug trafficking by sea and by air.
Thanks to the collaboration between 6 EU member countries (in addition to Italy, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal) and the United Kingdom, the Maoc has been operating since 2007 in the fight against illicit trafficking of cocaine in the Atlantic from South America and West Africa and bound for Europe, as well as cannabis across the Mediterranean.
The Center also relies on the collaboration of international organizations and agencies such as Europol, Unodc, Eurojust and Frontex, as well as that of other countries such as the United States, Canada, Cape Verde, Germany, Greece, Senegal and Morocco.
During 2022 alone, the Maoc coordinated 35 operations that led to the seizure of about 36 tons of cocaine and 10 tons of cannabis.
Italy’s contribution to the activity of the Centre, which is based in Lisbon and to which a liaison officer of the Guardia di Finanza is also seconded, was important in terms of its contribution to the huge narcotic seizures made. The most recent Italian-led operation saw the seizure last March off the eastern coast of Sicily of about two tons of cocaine (worth 400 million euros).
This article is originally published on ansa.it