Arrested customs officer linked to second suspected drug transport

Customs car at the port of Rotterdam
Customs car at the port of Rotterdam. (Photo: cakifoto/DepositPhotos)

A customs officer who was arrested in February for releasing a container with 1,500 kilograms of cocaine inside, is also suspected of helping criminals import a large batch of drugs in at least one other case, the Public Prosecutor said during a pro-forma hearing against Hassan O. on Wednesday, NOS reports.

Investigation into O. showed that he released a container through his login account in December, while the container was still at sea. That is very unusual, the Prosecutor said. The container was picked up at the port of Rotterdam by an unknown company. 50 boxes disappeared from the container. But a sniffer dog still signaled that he found something in the emptied container, the Prosecutor said.

O. is suspected of corruption. He was arrested in February in connection with 1,500 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a container filled with mangoes from Brazil. According to the Public Prosecutor, O. indicated in the customs computer system that the container had already been checked with the help of a sniffer dog and released the container - without it being actually checked.

O. denies any involvement in these drug shipments. His lawyer John Silvis argued that it is possible that other customs officers abused O.'s login details. According to the lawyer, the customs system is full of holes and customs employees can easily log into each other's accounts. 

Investigation into O.'s finances did not reveal anything suspicious, the Prosecutor said during the hearing. Nevertheless, the Prosecutor remains convinced that O. released the two containers without them being checked. "In this case I'm falling over evidence", the Prosecutor said, according to NOS. 

O. will remain in custody until his next hearing, the court ruled. 

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