€130 million heroin bust among largest in EU history; 4 held in Rotterdam

1,297 kilos of heroin seized at the port of Felixstowe, UK, en route to Rotterdam. 30 August 2019
1,297 kilos of heroin seized at the port of Felixstowe, UK, en route to Rotterdam. 30 August 2019Photo: NCA

A joint investigation by Dutch, British and Belgian police forces resulted in the seizure of nearly 1.3 tons of heroin at the port of Felixstowe in Great Britain. The drugs had a street value of around 130 million euros. Four men were arrested in Rotterdam for involvement in trafficking the drugs to the Netherlands, the Dutch police and British National Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Wednesday. 

The NCA received intelligence that there would be heroin on the MV Gibraltar when it docked at Felixstowe on August 30th, en route to Antwerp. The British authorities found a total of 1,297 kilograms of the drug hidden among a load of towels and bathrobes.

The drugs were removed from the container, which was placed back on the MV Gibraltar and sent on its way to Antwerp. It docked in the Belgian city on September 1st, from where the container was driven by truck to a warehouse in Rotterdam, with both the Dutch and Belgian police keeping a close eye on it.

The police raided the warehouse in Bergschenhoek just after the truck arrived on Monday. Three men who were at the warehouse at the time, aged 48, 51 and 53 years, were arrested. A fourth suspect was spotted leaving the warehouse by car. This 27-year-old man was arrested near Bunnik. All four suspects are still in custody for further investigation.

"This is a record heroin seizure in the UK and one of the largest ever in Europe", NCA deputy director Matt Horne said. "It will have denied organized crime tens of millions of pounds in profits."

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