Over 23 metric tons of cocaine, with a street sale value in the billions of euros, has been seized by German and Belgium authorities. An international operation uncovered the find now dubbed as ‘the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Europe.’
Investigators pursued a promising tip from one of their colleagues in the Netherlands, resulting in custom officers in Hamburg checking three containers that allegedly held construction putty. The investigation ran for over a week resulting in the arrest of a 28-year-old man from Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, where the shipment was addressed to. The man was the managing director of the import company. During the course of the investigation, several business premises across Rotterdam and its surrounding areas were also searched.
Recorded from the seizure was 16,174 kilograms concealed in 1,728 cans of construction putty. Police trace the containers back to Paraguay, having made stops in Tangier, Morocco, and Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Guided by the new find, Dutch authorities started an investigation into the recipient of the shipment. This led them to 11 more containers from Panama to Antwerp, allegedly containing squid, mackerel, pineapple, and wood, to be searched. On Sunday, authorities seized 7,200 kilograms worth of cocaine in one of those containers allegedly carrying wooden blocks in Antwerp, Belgium.
Also read: Record for hard drugs capture
The 16-tonnes nabbed in Germany marks a new record for EU-bound cocaine seizures. It is also among the largest single drug busts across the globe. The German Federal Ministry of Finance lavished praise on the customs officers praising the exemplary cooperation between German customs and their European partner authorities. Custom officers in Hamburg handle over eight million containers annually.
In a tweet, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) congratulated the effort of their colleagues while pointing out how the security of EU citizens remains their top priority.
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