Another 100 million euro cocaine bust made at the Rotterdam port
A shipment of cocaine worth over a hundred million euros was discovered at the Rotterdam port on Wednesday night. Customs officials found 1,400 kilograms of the drug hidden in a sea container loaded with cocoa.
The shipment originated in Colombia. "The cargo was destined for a company in France," said the Rotterdam office of the Public Prosecution Service (OM).
The cocaine had a street value of over 105 million euros, the OM stated. The drugs were destroyed by the time the OM disclosed the find late Thursday morning.
One of the largest-ever cocaine seizures at the Rotterdam port was found just 12 days ago in a shipment of wood sent from Suriname. Authorities found over 4,000 kilograms of the drug, which they valued at about 301 million euros. Nearly 11,000 kilograms of the drug was found at the port just in July.
Europol said in August that The Netherlands, along with Belgium, has become a primary hub for smuggling cocaine into Europe. Police have increasingly found criminal suspects sneaking on to port property to recover drugs hidden in various consignments.
Femke Halsema, the mayor of Amsterdam, advocated targetting those who facilitate drug trafficking, and not just intercepting drug shipments. "We always put a lot of focus on the kilograms and the tough guys, but behind them are networks involving serious criminals, who are often backed by a network of accountants, real estate agents, middlemen and, sometimes, also lawyers," she said on Nieuwsuur earlier in September.
In a debate about the Cabinet's budget proposals, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said casual users of illegal drugs are also part of the problem by creating the demand for a billions-euro market controlled by the criminal underworld. To tackle organized crime, the current Cabinet will increase the annual budget of the Ministry of Justice and Security by 434 million euros, with an extra 90 million euro boost on top of that just for 2022.