Customs officials monitoring the Rotterdam Port found five different batches of cocaine from Friday to Tuesday, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said in separate statements. Over 250 kilograms of cocaine was recovered, and eight different people suspected of involvement were arrested.
Around 220 thousand Netherlands residents used cannabis on a daily or nearly daily basis in 2018, compared to 140 thousand the year before. The use of cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamine in the Netherlands is well above the European average. But the number of drug-related deaths decreased in 2018 compared to the year before, according to the National Drug Monitor 2019 by the Trimbos Institute.
An investigation into a ship in the Mercuriushaven in Amsterdam uncovered 37 kilograms of cocaine. Authorities estimated the value of the drugs to be €1.8 million, a spokesperson from the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) told NL Times.
The cocaine was found in backpacks on the vessel, which had originated from Brazil. At the time of the investigation, the ship was being used to transport animal feed, FIOD said.
The largest drug bust in Costa Rica’s history involved over five thousand kilograms of cocaine destined for The Netherlands. The drugs were found on Saturday, hidden amongst a shipment of canopy plants being sent to Rotterdam, according to the country’s Ministry of Public Security.
Customs officers found approximately 1 thousand kilograms of cocaine during a check at the port of Rotterdam on Friday, February 7th. The drugs were hidden in a container loaded with bananas from Ecuador, the Public Prosecution Service said on Wednesday.
The cargo arrived at the port of Rotterdam early last week on a ship from Costa Rica. The bananas were destined for a company in Portugal. The Dutch authorities does not believe the Portuguese company had anything to do with the drug trafficking.
The drugs were confiscated and destroyed.
Three Martinair pilots who were arrested in Argentina after a large amount of cocaine was found in their plane, have returned to the Netherlands. Last week the Argentinian judiciary announced that there was no reason to prosecute the pilots, but they had to stay in the country for several more days while all the formalities were settled, NOS reports.
Customs officers at the port of Vlissingen intercepted 921 kilograms of cocaine on Tuesday. The drugs were hidden in a container of bananas that came from Ecuador, the police said in a statement.
The drugs were discovered with a mobile scan. The police seized and destroyed the cocaine. So far no arrests were made.
The police are investigating.
More than 80 kilograms of cocaine was found on a Martinair Cargo plane in Argentina. Seven men, three of whom are Dutch, were arrested, including the plane's pilot and some crew members, RTL Nieuws reports.
The plane was at the Ezeiza International Airport near Buenos Aires when the drugs were discovered. Local media report that the discovery was made shortly before he plane was set to depart for Amsterdam, via Ecuador and Miami.
The police registered a total of 21,302 trafficking related crimes in 2019, an increase of over 16 percent compared to the year before. The increase was mainly due to a spike in weapons trafficking and drug trafficking, according to an initial analysis of crime statistics released on Wednesday.
A hand grenade was found at an apartment building in Kerkdriel, where the mayor of the municipality of Maasdriel lives, on Monday morning. Dozens of local residents were evacuated as explosive experts disarmed the device, local safety office Veiligheidsregio Gelderland-Zuid said on Twitter.
The explosive was found just before 5:30 a.m. At 11:00 a.m., the safety office announced that the device had been disarmed and no longer posed a danger to the surroundings. Gasthuisplein an Monseigneur Zwijsenplein were cordoned off for investigation.
The police pulled over a motorist in Waalwijk on Sunday to reprimand him for a dirty license plate, only to end up arresting him on suspicion of drug dealing. The officers found 67 bags of cocaine in a hidden area of the car. The 23-year-old man from Den Bosch's driver's license had also been suspended, the police said in a statement.
The officers noticed the car on Taxandriaweg in Waalwijk because its license plate was so dirty that it couldn't be read. They decided to pull the car over for a check.
Customs officials in and around Rotterdam found a total of 775 kilograms of cocaine in three separate investigations. The busts all took place between Friday and Sunday, with authorities taking seven people into custody.
Customs officers intercepted a large amount of cocaine during a check at the port of Rotterdam on Monday. The drugs were hidden in around 40 barrels of frozen fruit pulp, the Public Prosecutor said on Wednesday.
The container with the drugs came from Brazil. The cocaine was removed and destroyed.
The HARC team, a joint venture of Customs, FIOD, Seaport Police, and the Public Prosecution Service in Rotterdam, is investigating.
Four separate shipments of cocaine were found by Customs officials at the Port of Rotterdam over the past week. All told, officials captured 1,457 kilograms of cocaine, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said.
All of the cocaine made its way to the Netherlands from Brazil. The drugs were later destroyed, the OM said.
It started on December 12 when Customs officers found 450 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a shipment of grit used in the concrete industry. Another 500 kilograms of the drug was found frozen inside barrels of concentrated fruit pulp.
Authorities working at the port in Vlissingen discovered roughly 1,200 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs were discovered hidden in a banana shipment that was delivered to a company based at the port, police said.
A criminal investigation was launched after the contraband was found on Tuesday afternoon. No arrests were announced in the case. “The drugs have since been removed and destroyed,” police said.
Banana shipments have been a frequent cover for cocaine traffickers in the Netherlands this year.
Police in the Netherlands announced on Monday the arrest of a 25-year-old Rotterdam man in connection with the discovery of 2,019 kilograms of cocaine at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium. The arrest took place weeks ago on November 27 after the cocaine was found in a sea container by Belgian customs officials, Dutch police said.
The cocaine was found in a shipment of fertilizer that originated in Colombia. The container was destined for the Netherlands.
Employees of a fruit company in Ridderkerk found a large batch of cocaine hidden among melons in a shipment the company received from Brazil on Monday, the Public Prosecutor said.
A total of 330 kilograms of cocaine were hidden in the container, according to RTL Nieuws. The container came from Brazil and was delivered to the port of Rotterdam before being moved to the company in Ridderkerk.
The fruit company employees called the police the moment they found the drugs. The Public Prosecutor does not believe the company was involved in the drug trafficking.
Riduouan Taghi, considered the most wanted fugitive criminal in the Netherlands, is likely staying on Kish - an island in the Persian Gulf, an about two-hour boat ride from Dubai, the Telegraaf reports based on "multiple sources" within and outside the investigative services. The Netherlands has no extradition treaty with Kish.
In July the Telegraaf wrote that Taghi was "almost certainly" hiding in Dubai.
Investigators working near the Rotterdam port found nearly 100 kilograms of cocaine at a fruit company in the IJsselmonde district of the city on Monday. The drugs were hidden in a shipment of melons from Brazil, the police said in a statement.
“Employees of the fruit company found the drugs among the fruit and reported it,” police said. “The company probably has nothing to do with drug trafficking.” The cocaine was seized and destroyed.
Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants the Netherlands' privacy rules to be adjusted so that they no longer protect criminals, the mayor said in a letter to Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus.
A cocaine lab was discovered a shed in the Noord-Brabant town of Sint Willebrord on Monday evening. A large amount of cocaine was confiscated. Six men were arrested. They were found hiding on the site, the police said in a statement.
Personnel data from a fruit wholesaler in Hedel, Gelderland accidentally ended up in the criminal file of a major cocaine investigation, the Public Prosecution Service in Oost-Nederland confirmed. In a statement, the Prosecutor said it regrets the state of affairs, stressing that there have never been indications that people were in immediate danger. Nevertheless, dozens of employees of the wholesaler are terrified of reprisals from the criminal underworld, RTL Nieuws reports.
Even with nearly two months left to go in the year, authorities at the Port of Rotterdam this year have already surpassed the record amount of cocaine caught there in 2018, according to an investigation by De Telegraaf. Some 23 thousand kilograms of cocaine was intercepted at the largest port in Europe, a 28 percent increase over the 18 thousand kilograms captured during all of last year.