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Malta arrests 40 people, including Libyans, involved in Italy-Libya car smuggling operation

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

RAGUSA – Police in Ragusa, Sicily, have several arrests after smashing a criminal ring which involved stealing luxury cars and other vehicles in Italy and then transferring them to Libya through Malta.

According to Times of Malta, some 40 people were arrested during the operation, named Coast to Coast. The operation involved some 150 officers, who searched 50 locations in several Italian cities.

The Polizia di Stato, one of the national police forces of Italy, confirmed the news via Twitter on Wednesday.

Among those 4o people arrested, there are 33 Italians, a Tunisian, four Libyans and two Maltese.

According to media reports, the smuggling operation started in 2013 and continued until September 2016. Sicilians and Calabrians, through the mediation of Maltese, were contacted by Libyan merchants who commissioned various types of vehicles (cars and commercial vehicles) of course at prices of much lower than the market value to transfer them to Libya through various Italian ports passing through Malta.

Twenty-one trucks, a cement mixer, a compactor and eight cars, all stolen, were seized in Sicily shortly before they were due to be shipped to Malta. Fake documentation was also found.

Three cars and one truck which had been stolen in Italy were found in Malta by local police, TVM reported.

Italian police released a recording of an intercepted phone call in which a man with a Maltese accent, which police described as a “Maltese subject” and an Italian interlocutor discuss collecting a BMW X5 off the catamaran.

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