Share article:
Share article:

Ten Antwerp port workers arrested in cocaine investigation

© Paul Leysen for Unsplash

Ten key workers in the Port of Antwerp have been arrested in connection with a major investigation into drugs trafficking, the city’s prosecutor’s office has confirmed.

The ten are all employed in important positions at the port, which can be exploited by drugs criminals to allow their wares to pass through the port without being intercepted.

The action, which took place yesterday morning, is connected to the recent Operation Sky, where police succeeded in breaking the encryption of Sky ECC phones, allowing them to follow conversations of criminal gangs unhindered.

That led in April to the seizure of more than 27 tonnes of cocaine. Since then, investigations have continued.

That data has provided elements in current cases, but new criminal offences are also coming to light,” the prosecutor’s office told Gazet Van Antwerpen.

Related News


Yesterday, federal judicial police officers raided 24 addresses in Antwerpen, Wuustwezel, Merksem, Wilrijk and Sint-Niklaas, involving people in key positions at the port.

[These people] work for transport companies, at port terminals, shipping companies, forwarding offices or security companies,” said spokesperson Kristof Aerts.

They [allegedly] misuse their respective functions to pass on important information or to provide services to criminal organisations which in turn misuse the port for the international trafficking of narcotics.”

One of the ten suspects was arrested in Rotterdam, and will be delivered to the Antwerp authorities. The others will be brought before an investigating magistrate for questioning.

During the searches of the various addresses, police seized handbags, luxury watches, jewellery, cars and €40,000 in cash.

The company that makes the Sky ECC encrypted phones has all along denied that international police forces have cracked their code, which would automatically make their business worthless.

Nonetheless, police in Belgium and elsewhere continue to use the information they have gathered to crack down on organised criminal organisations, based on intelligence gathered from months of covert surveillance.

Latest news

Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...