Massive €269 million cocaine shipment found in Rotterdam; More seized in Caribbean
Customs officials found nearly 3,600 kilograms of cocaine during an inspection at the Port of Rotterdam. The drugs held a street value of 269 million euros, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said on Monday. Two other batches of drugs weighing a total of 2,000 kilograms were also found in an operation involving the Dutch Navy in the Caribbean.
It is the largest cocaine find at the Rotterdam port this year. No arrests were announced.
The cocaine was hidden in a shipment of bananas that likely originated in Ecuador, the OM said. Authorities found the cocaine and counted it between Sunday night and early the following morning.
The final tally stood at 3,587 one-kilogram bricks.
“This container of bananas was destined for a company in the Province of Zeeland,” the OM said. However, there was no evidence suggesting that the company was involved in the smuggling operation.
The initial investigation was carried out by the Hit-and-Run Cargo Team, a specialized intervention team made up of port police, Customs officials, FIOD financial crime investigators, and the Rotterdam division of the Public Prosecution Service.
Additionally, the efforts by the Dutch military led to the seizure of another 2,000 kilograms of drugs. The Navy and Coast Guard crews working on the Zr.Ms.Groningen, a Holland-class patrol ship, intercepted drug shipments in the Caribbean Sea, including a batch of cocaine and another of cannabis.
The Navy fired warning shots in the incidents on Thursday and Friday after the suspects refused to acknowledge the Navy’s orders. Shots were fired at the outboard motors of a ship in both cases, forcing the smugglers’ ships to halt, the Navy said in a statement. Drugs which were dumped overboard in an attempt to evade arrest were later recovered.
A total of 12 people from Venezuela were taken into custody, according to ANP. The Navy turned them over to police in Curaçao.