Dutch father, sons arrested in international cocaine bust
A Dutch father and his two sons were arrested in Belgium and Spain over the past weeks for smuggling 3,300 kilograms of cocaine into the Netherlands through the port of Antwerp. The cocaine was seized in a warehouse in Hazeldonk in January 2017. All three suspects have been extradited to the Netherlands and are in custody, the police said in a statement.
The cocaine was hidden in a container with bananas. The container was shipped from South America through the port of Antwerp to the Netherlands. The police seized the drugs at a warehouse in Hazeldonk in January 2017, after a tip from the Belgian Customs. The drugs, which had an estimated street value of 80 million euros, were immediately destroyed. At the time the police arrested the owners of the transport company behind the shipment and the driver, but suspected that others were behind the smuggling.
The police investigation led to a father and two sons who lived in Spain and Belgium. In February the police searched their homes and companies connected to them in the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium. Real estate worth over a million euros, four luxury cars, cash, bank accounts and administration were seized. A 51-year-old man was arrested in Spain. His 44-year-old brother was arrested in Belgium. And their 74-year-old father turned himself in. All three suspects are now in custody in the Netherlands.
According to the police, the suspects were involved in several fruit import companies and several banana shipments. They were also involved in shipments of wood pellets, which the police believe also contained cocaine. This presumably involved four shipments of around 500 kilos at a time, the police said.
The investigation, called Imperial, is still ongoing. More arrests may follow, the police said.