Belgium’s customs seized 46 tonnes of drugs in 2017 compared to 31 tonnes the year before, Finance Department Spokesperson Florence Angelici said on Thursday, confirming an RTL report. The increase in the quantity of drugs intercepted is due to various factors, Ms Angelici explained. “We observed that the cartels had more effective cultivation methods that enabled them to extract more from the coca (leaves) on the plants … the (U.S.) DEA also carried out fewer destructions.”
The peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has also had repercussions: “Other organizations are muscling in on the market share” that the FARC used to have, the Finance Department Spokesperson said.
Cocaine made up most of the seizures – 41 tonnes out of 46; and this drug “is an instrument of trade, exchanged against weapons, heroin, among others,” she added.
The increase in drug seizures is also attributable to improved targeting. “We have selection methods that enable us to better determine where checks need to be made,” Mrs. Angelici explained.
The big seizures occurred mainly in Antwerp, the port of entry “for fruits originating in the countries the cocaine comes from,” she said. “The traffickers take advantage of this to pass drugs through the legal channels.”
The Brussels Times