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Rooting out the problem

Uprooted tree leads to discovery of significant cocaine lab following storm in Netherlands

The discovery was made following a storm on Thursday.

A TREE THAT was uprooted during a storm has led to the discovery of one of the largest cocaine laboratories in the Netherlands, police said on Thursday.

Clean-up workers were removing the tree after the storm when they noticed a chemical smell and “suspicious” men walking about a nearby farmer’s shed in the southern Dutch village of Oud-Vossenmeer.

“Police were called and agents discovered the laboratory in the shed,” a police statement said, adding it was “one of the largest discovered to date in the country”.

Police declined to say how much cocaine was found, but admitted that deconstructing the laboratory will take “several days”.

No arrests were made, with the suspects having fled following the discovery.

It follows data from the EU drugs agency, whose annual report revealed yesterday that record quantities of increasingly pure cocaine are being seized by European authorities.

EU member states seized 140 tonnes of cocaine in 2017, the highest level ever recorded, with an average street price of €55 to €82 per gram in the EU, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said.

The purity of cocaine at street level reached its highest level in a decade in 2017, while its retail price has remained stable.

An increase in trafficking via shipping containers is a “major challenge”, the report said.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019.

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