Police investigating drug dealing in Tuscany have arrested several winery workers in Montalcino, the town that has given its name to Italy’s famous Brunello di Montalcino wines.

Officers raided properties this week in an operation known as ‘Montalcino Express’, according to a statement issued by the Siena branch of Tuscany’s Carabinieri police and posted on the blog of Italian wine journalist Franco Ziliani.

Several kilos of drugs, including cocaine, were seized during raids in and around the hilltop commune town in southern Tuscany.

The operation follows several months of investigation and was co-ordinated by Siena’s chief prosecuting officer, police said.

It is thought the suspected dealers were making 20,000 euros per month from illegal drugs sales to party-goers and local business people. The drugs were smuggled into the area from Rome and Milan.

Of the eight people arrested, police described three as winery workers and a fourth as a winery administrator.

However, there was no suggestion that the wineries themselves were directly involved in dealing drugs. No names were given.

It has been a busy few months for police in the area. Last September, officers said they had seized enough fake Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino wines to fill more than 200,000 bottles as part of an investigation into a fraud operation.

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Written by Chris Mercer