Dock workers at the port of Antwerp took suspected drugs traffickers prisoner by locking them up in a shipping container until the police arrived.
The suspects were in the process of shifting suspect packages from a container coming from South American to one with a European origin, in an attempt to evade a more thorough check by customs.
According to a report by the Gazet Van Antwerpen, dock workers saw the container doors standing open, and immediately recognised an operation of what is known as “switching,” where a cargo from one origin is moved to make it look as if it came from another, in an effort to avoid thorough customs checks.
Two men were found to be unloading the contents of one container, originating from South America, into one coming from within Europe. Dock workers then shut the two men, aged 32 and 35 years, in another container while customs authorities were alerted.
On arrival at the scene of the original container, customs officers discovered a load of some 880kg of cocaine, disguised in a load of sports bags. The bags were buried under a load of stones, and the men found in possession of shovels to move the stones. The bags themselves were joined together by strings to make them easier to find under the stones.
The two men were arrested and questioned. While one man refused to comment under caution, the prosecutor’s office said, the other admitted to taking part in the traffic for the money. The two men have been charged with criminal conspiracy.