Police in Belgium and Germany have announced the seizure of a record amount of cocaine – more than 23 tonnes – which was destined for the Netherlands.
German officials first discovered 16 tonnes of cocaine spread out in five shipping containers that had arrived in the port of Hamburg from Paraguay earlier this month.
After police in Netherlands were notified, a further 7.2 tonnes of cocaine was discovered and seized at the Belgian port of Antwerp.
This is the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Europe and one of the largest single seizures worldwide. It is estimated to have a total street value of between 2-5 billion euros.
A 28-year-old man suspected to be involved in the drug smuggling has been arrested in the Netherlands, Dutch police said earlier this week.
In Antwerp, the cocaine had been hidden in a container filled with wooden blocks from Panama. Meanwhile, in Germany, the drugs were concealed in tins of wall filler, which had entered Europe on a container ship from Paraguay.
Customs officers decided to investigate the Paraguayan containers after noticing ” irregularities” with some of the contents. “Beyond a layer of genuine goods, packed just behind the container door, numerous tin cans were in fact filled with other goods,” officials said.
After the containers were unloaded, inspectors found cocaine hidden inside more than 1,700 tins.
Last year, over 100 tonnes of cocaine was intercepted while heading for Europe.
The Brussels Times