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Germany and Belgium seize 23 tonnes of cocaine in record European haul

Dutch police said the drugs were bound for a destination in the Netherlands.

(File photo)
(File photo)
Image: DPA/PA Images

GERMANY AND BELGIUM have seized 23 tonnes of cocaine in a record haul of the drug in Europe.

German officers initially discovered 16 tonnes of cocaine hidden in containers from Paraguay at the port of Hamburg on 12 February.

Further investigations with Dutch officers led authorities to discover another 7.2 tonnes of the drug at the port of Antwerp in Belgium, German customs reported today.

Dutch police said they have arrested a 28-year-old man in the Netherlands in connection with both hauls.

Investigators also searched two premises, one in Rotterdam and another in a nearby village.

“The enormous amount of cocaine would have brought in several billion euros in street sales,” Germany’s customs office said in a statement.

Dutch police said the drugs were all bound for the same destination in the Netherlands.

“The seized mega shipments to the Netherlands together form an absolute record. Never before has so much cocaine been intercepted at once,” they said in a statement.

Customs officers at the busy port in Hamburg had decided to take a closer look at the Paraguayan containers after noticing “clear irregularities” with its contents – tin cans that were meant to be filled with putty.

“Beyond a layer of genuine goods packed just behind the container door, numerous tin cans were in fact filled with other goods,” said customs.

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Investigators unloaded the containers and found the cocaine stash in over 1,700 tin cans.

“This is the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Europe and one of the largest single seizures worldwide,” German customs said, referring to the Hamburg haul.

© AFP 2021

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