The head of the American Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA), Uttam Dhillon, was in Antwerp on Wednesday during a trip to Belgium to support the anti-drugs battle being led by the European Union and the United States. On Wednesday, he specifically went to the port of Antwerp, known to be a centre for the importation of drugs into Europe.
Nearly every year, the port of Antwerp records a record number of drugs seizures. In 2018, more than 50 tonnes of cocaine were intercepted. And according to Uttam Dhillon, “a similar amount confiscated in South America must have been channelled through there.”
Dhillon, who has also been to Colombia on the trip, states that there exists “a strong link between gangs of traffickers there and enormous hauls in Europe.”
According to him, these criminal gangs are often the same ones organising the exportation of the drug into Europe and the United States.
“These gangs work across frontiers, they don’t care about borders. That’s why we must cooperate in order to fight them,” he argued at the beginning of his visit to the port of Antwerp.
This visit comes at a time when Antwerp is grappling with an escalation in violence linked to drugs, including a series of grenade explosions that have recently rocked the port city.