52,804 tons of cocaine seized in Belgium in 2018, a new record

52,804 tons of cocaine seized in Belgium in 2018, a new record
Credit: Belga

Federal Police in cooperation with Customs seized a record 52,804 tons of cocaine last year, according to new figures.

These police actions take place mainly in ports but sending cocaine by parcel post is growing, La Dernière Heure reported on Monday.  

In 2018, the fight against the import and export of cocaine led to the seizure of 52,804 tons of this drug in Belgium. For 98 catches, a total of 394 arrests and a cargo estimated at no less than 2,640 billion euros. 

"Hard drug trafficking in our region is a collateral victim of capacity deployments after the terrorist attacks," the federal police’s central service of the fight against drugs expert, Marc Vancoillie said. "According to my analysis, this is because of the 'green light' given by traffickers. They thought it was a good time to import a maximum. The stored quantities became too large, which made the kilo price plunge sharply", he continued. 

Over 90% of the seizures are in ports. Antwerp’s Port makes Belgium the first import country in Europe, even ahead of the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, the expert believes. 

Sending drugs by post has been increasing for a year and a half, Vancoillie said. A significant number of shipments of mail and parcels containing between 300 to 500 grams of cocaine have been sent from Belgium and the Netherlands to Australia and New Zealand, among others, where the gram is sold almost four times higher. The Federal Police does not yet have precise figures for interceptions of these packages, but the phenomenon is taken seriously.

The Brussels Times

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