File photo of cocaine (photo: Stevepb / Pixabay) - Credit: File photo of cocaine (photo: Stevepb / Pixabay)
Saturday, 30 January 2016 - 11:12
Denmark’s €120 million cocaine bust tied to Rotterdam men
Six people were arrested in the Netherlands and Belgium in connection with 310 kilograms of high-grade cocaine discovered at a port in Denmark last summer. Four of those arrested were caught in Rotterdam this past December, the public prosecutor’s office in the Netherlands confirmed exclusively to the NL Times.Among the four men are three Dutch-Turkish dual citizens, including a 24-year-old and two aged 27. The fourth is a 23-year-old with Dutch and Moroccan nationalities. All live in Rotterdam. “The four men are suspected by the Danish authorities of the importation of 310 kg cocaine and are currently held in detention in a Dutch prison,” the prosecutor’s office wrote in an email. More arrests are possible, Danish police inspector Brian Voss Olsen told NL Times. No Danes were detained. Police in Denmark believe the drugs would have been mixed with other substances to produce about 1,200 kilograms of cocaine for sale. They put an estimated street-value of between 800 and 900 million Danish kroner, or roughly between 107 and 121 million euros, investigators announced on January 19. The discovery was made on July 14, 2015 in a sea container at a business in Esbjerg, a port town in the west of Denmark along the North Sea coast, reported Danish newspaper JydskeVestkysten. The director of Holger Christiansen A/S said that his logistic company’s workers spotted the cocaine in a bag in the container and reported it to the police. Investigators stressed in their announcement that they do not believe the business is connected to the illicit substance in any way. Authorities in Denmark said they then launched a secret investigation with the cooperation of investigators in both Belgium and the Netherlands. When contacted, the Western Task Force that handled the case refused to comment on the evidence involved, and would not say what led them to contact detectives abroad, particularly as the investigation is ongoing. It is possible the drugs were to be distributed throughout Europe, not necessarily on the Danish market, Olsen told JydskeVestkysten. All four Dutch suspects are still in custody in the Netherlands. They face a hearing in Amsterdam on February 16 in front of a three-judge panel to determine if they will be extradited to Denmark. A ruling is expected on March 1, which could see the men turned over to Danish authorities by March 11. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not comment on the possible extradition. One of the two people arrested in Belgium was already extradited to Denmark, while one is still in custody, Søren Salomon Elkjær, a journalist with the JydskeVestkysten, told the NL Times last week. Those initially held in Belgium are also suspected of drug smuggling. The attorney for the extradited 28-year-old man is pleading not guilty, his attorney, Erbil Kaya, told JydskeVestkysten. Should a Danish court convict the Dutch nationals, they will serve their sentences at a Netherlands correctional facility, the Dutch prosecutor stated.