2021 set records for drug interceptions by officials and 2022 is off to a fast start with the Port of Antwerp announcing on Monday the seizure of 657 kg of cocaine. The drugs were found in a metal shipment from Brazil.
The cocaine, which has an estimated street value of €32 million, was dispersed in 20 sports bags in the metal shipment, according to a press lease from the Belgian government.
In 2021, Belgian Customs and Excise Service officials seized 89.5 tonnes of cocaine, a 33% increase from 2020, VRT NWS reports. Customs officials also seized 1.3 tonnes of heroin and 11.7 tonnes of cannabis last year.
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The influx in cocaine being intercepted in Antwerp’s docks last year owes partly to a rise in international drug trafficking. In addition, significant investments have been made to the area's customs authorities, Federal Finance Minister Vincent Van Peterghem (Flemish Christian Democrat) previously stated.