White Christmas: Massive cocaine busts in Antwerp often linked to Netherlands
Last week, Belgian customs officers seized almost 9 tons of cocaine, with a street value of 750 million euros, in two drug busts. The authorities spoke of a white Christmas. Cocaine imports in Antwerp often involve Dutch criminals, NOS reports.
Last week Monday, Belgian authorities found 3.9 tons of cocaine in a shipment of bananas from Ecuador. On Wednesday, they found another 4.8 tons in a load of bananas from Panama. On the same day, the Dutch authorities found 1.3 tons of cocaine among bananas shipped via Antwerp in Vlissingen.
A spokesperson for the Belgian customs told local broadcaster VRT that cocaine shipments always increase around the holidays. “White Christmas, that is the period in which the white powder falls en masse from the sky,” administrator-general Kristian Vanderwaeren said. “I expect spectacular busts from my people in the coming weeks.”
He expects customs to break last year’s record of 90 tons of cocaine intercepted. For comparison, authorities in the port of Rotterdam intercepted 72 tons of cocaine last year.
Much of the problems in Antwerp are linked to criminals from the Netherlands. Many of the suspects caught trying to smuggle cocaine out of containers in the Antwerp port are Dutch. And a lot of the drugs intercepted there were destined for the Netherlands.