Police announce three mid-sized cocaine busts, cutting building discovery
Three mid-sized cocaine busts were announced by the Public Prosecution Service on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Seven suspects have been arrested in connection with one of the cocaine imports. Police also arrested eight men working in a cutting building on Friday.
An empty container was found at the Port of Rotterdam on March 3, which customs suspected contained drugs. This was followed by the discovery of a second container, where the suspects had been staying with mattresses, food and drinks, sleeping bags and power banks. Customs finally found the suspected drugs in a third shipping container, which held 1,436 kilograms of drugs. Suspects most likely used the "switch method" to smuggle cocaine from the port area.
Seven men between the ages of 21 and 26 from Rotterdam, Capelle aan den IJssel and Barendrecht have been detained in connection with the March 3 drug smuggling case. On Tuesday they were brought before the magistrate, who ruled that they would be detained for at least 14 days longer.
Another case occurred less than a week later on March 9, also at the Port of Rotterdam. Customs intercepted 400 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of 30 million euros, during a routine check. The drugs had been disguised in a container filled with gifts from Suriname. A further 3.5 kilograms of cocaine was seized from the shipment, with a street value of 262,500 euros.
Almost 1,100 kilograms of cocaine were found a day later at the port. The drugs were smuggled between bags of peanuts. They had traveled all the way from Nicaragua, first via Panama, then to Colombia, and then finally arrived in Rotterdam. The drugs had a street value of 81 million euros and were hidden in 30 sports bags.
While some arrests have already been made in connection with the cocaine busts, more are expected in the coming weeks. The investigations are still ongoing and in each case, the drugs have since been destroyed.
On March 11, police received a tip about a cutting building –– a place where drugs are cut and mixed with other substances to increase volumes and profits –– in Rotterdam. There, they found chemicals, equipment and cutting agents related to drugs. They also arrested eight men of Albanian descent between the ages of 21 and 50 who were present in the house, and who had no permanent residence.