Organized crime not hindered by coronavirus crisis, Rotterdam police chief says
While the coronavirus crisis brought massive parts of society to a halt, organized crime continues unhindered. There is no visible reduction in the amount of trafficked drugs discovered in Rotterdam, and a first batch of cocaine has already been found in a shipment of medical supplies that was shipped to the United Kingdom, according to Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeke. "Criminals adapt very quickly," he said to AD.
Over the past six week, over 40 people were arrested at the port of Rotterdam on suspicion of being so-called "retrievers" - people who get themselves locked into the port in order to remove drugs from containers and smuggle it off site. According to Westerbeke, their presence shows the continuity of the drug trade.
Westerbeke doesn't think lockdown diminished the demand for drug in many countries, he said to the newspaper. "The use will be less, but I don't believe there was a halving."
Increased controls on the borders, due to measures in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, did make drug distribution more difficult. But according to the Rotterdam police chief, criminals just switched back to old smuggling routes, or invented other methods of moving their product.
Drug dealers themselves are also having a harder time. With everyone stuck at home, there is not only fewer customers on the street, but more people watching out their window. They are therefore gathering in places where there are crowds, such as the parking lots of supermarkets or hardware stores, Westerbeke said