"There's much we don't know," public prosecutor says about drug trade network
Public prosecutor Ernst Pols says authorities still have a lot to learn about criminal networks in the Netherlands. "What we don't know, we can't know, and there is much we don't know," Pols said in an interview with NU.nl,
The Douane intercepted nearly three times as much cocaine in the port of Rotterdam this year as in 2018. In total, the Douane discovered 63 thousand kilos of cocaine this year in the port of Rotterdam, the largest European container terminal. Just last Thursday, the Douane found more than half a ton of cocaine in a container from Guyana. During the largest drug bust of the year in October, more than four tons of cocaine were discovered.
Still, the drug trade seems to continue to grow. Drug traffickers often work together with port workers to get the narcotics out of the container.
The number of traffickers stopped at the port in Rotterdam increased this year by nearly 200 to 452, yet unless authorities catch trespassers with drugs on them, they only get a 95-euro fine. The Public Prosecution Service has been working on new legislation that would allow for people trespassing on the port to be jailed.
Pols said the Public Prosecution Service is unaware of how many kilos of cocaine in total pass through the Rotterdam port, due to the size of the grounds.
A report released by Europol recently stated, "The epicenter of the cocaine market in Europe as shifted northwards," with reference to the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerpen. "The majority of cocaine reaching Antwerp is likely intended for organizations operating t of the Netherlands," Europol wrote.
Pols said the Netherlands is far from a narcostate, "It is definitely not the case that the drug mafia has completely infiltrated the government. The same applies to revenues. Of course, a lot of money is made. But it is not the case that the Dutch economy is largely based on drug money. That is just not true," Pols said.