Cocaine valued at €126.5 million found in three Rotterdam shipments
Authorities at the Port of Rotterdam discovered three separate shipments of cocaine with an estimated combined street value of nearly 126.5 million euros. Some 1,686 kilograms of cocaine was found in sea containers taken off different ships on Wednesday, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said.
The largest discovery was 1,515 kilograms of the drug found in a sea container loaded with cocoa beans. The container was loaded in Ecuador before it was sent to Colombia. It was placed on a ship there, which stopped in Antwerp before continuing on to Rotterdam. It was inspected by Customs agents, who found the 38 bales of cocaine.
Earlier in the day, Customs found a smaller consignment of 32 kilograms of cocaine in a sea container filled with bananas. The batch of bananas was shipped from Ecuador and was destined for a business in Barendrecht. The bananas were off-loaded, and the empty container was inspected. The drugs were found in the motor compartment which refrigerates the container.
Another batch of 139 kilograms was found in five duffel bags hidden in a shipment of resin cement that arrived from Brazil. The resin cement was destined for a company in Portugal, the OM stated.
"The recipients of the aforementioned containers and goods appear to have nothing to do with the smuggling operation. The drugs have since been destroyed," the OM stated.
All three cases were being investigated by Customs, financial crimes inspectorate FIOD, Seaport Police, and the Rotterdam branch of the OM. The four offices cooperate as part of the Hit-and-Run Cargo Team, which runs investigations into drug trafficking at the ports.
Reporting by ANP.