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.
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.