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.
Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants to station Dutch police- and customs officers in Colombia in the fight against drug trafficking. The port of Rotterdam is one of the main transit ports for Colombian cocaine. The Rotterdam mayor is therefore currently visiting the Colombian port city of Cartagena to see how he can improve cooperation with local authorities, NOS reports.
Authorities working at the Port of Rotterdam found dozens of kilograms of cocaine hidden among a banana shipment. In total, some 186 kilos of cocaine was found inside the sea container, prosecution service OM said in a statement.
The value of the Tuesday seizure was estimated at between four and six million euros, according to local broadcaster RTV Rijnmond.
The container originated in Colombia, and was first set for Antwerp, Belgium before it continued to Rotterdam, its final destination. “The drugs have since been destroyed,” the OM stated.
A customs officer who was arrested in February for releasing a container with 1,500 kilograms of cocaine inside, is also suspected of helping criminals import a large batch of drugs in at least one other case, the Public Prosecutor said during a pro-forma hearing against Hassan O. on Wednesday, NOS reports.
The police and customs officers in the port of Rotterdam made two large cocaine busts over the weekend. They found a total of 1,250 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a shipment of produce and a shipment of fruit concentrate, the police said in a statement on Tuesday.
Customs officers seized over 800 kilograms of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam early in June, the Public Prosecutor announced on Sunday. A massive 720 kilos of the drug were discovered in a banana shipment on June 6th, and two smaller shipments totaling in 86 kilograms were discovered on June 4th.
The import of illegal ketamine to the Netherlands is skyrocketing. Last year Customs officers seized 800 kilograms of ketamine, compared to only 2.6 kilograms in 2016, NOS reports based on requested figures.
The Dutch investigative authorities like customs and the police do not work well together in combating drug trafficking in the port of Rotterdam, researchers at Erasmus University concluded after an extensive study commissioned by the Rotterdam municipality, police, customs and Public Prosecutor. Information is not always shared and the authorities mainly focus on so-called "retrievers" of the drugs, which means that the organizers of the drug shipments remain out of reach, the researchers said, NOS reports.
On Monday customs officers found a "large batch" of cocaine at the office building of a Rotterdam fruit company on Keilestraat, the Public Prosecutor said in a statement.
The drugs were hidden in a banana shipment from Ecuador, according to the Prosecutor. In a number of pallets full of banana boxes, the fruit was replaced by packages of cocaine. The drugs were confiscated and destroyed.
Customs, the Tax Authority's investigative department FIOD, the seaport police and the Public Prosecutor are investigating. As far as is known, no arrests were made.
More investigators and customs officers are needed to combat drug crime in the port of Rotterdam, according to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. The Rotterdam mayor calls on the government to structurally tackle undermining crime, NOS reports.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority is setting up five additional parking areas in preparation for a no-deal Brexit. These "buffer parking locations" have space for 700 trucks, for the event that carriers do not have their customs documents in order for maritime transport to the United Kingdom, NU.nl reports.
Three customs officer working in the port of Rotterdam were arrested on Monday on suspicion of money laundering.
The three men, aged 31, 34 and 37 from Rotterdam, Schiedam and The Hague, were arrested after three homes and a business premises were searched in January, NOS reports.
They fell under suspicion because they made striking cash withdrawals and deposits on their bank accounts. According to the Public Prosecutor, these amounts were not in proportion with their legal income as customs officers.
Dutch customs officers at the port of Rotterdam intercepted a container with 90 thousand bottles of vodka, which were likely intended for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his army command, newspaper AD reports. The container was found in a ship, hidden under the hull of an aircraft on Friday.
A massive 1,500 kilograms of cocaine was found hidden among mangoes in a container at the port of Rotterdam on Wednesday. A 37-year-old customs officer from Rotterdam was arrested on suspicion of involvement in this drug transport, the Public Prosecutor announced.
The container came from Brazil, according to the Prosecutor.
Customs sent letters to 72,277 Dutch entrepreneurs who do business with the United Kingdom to warn them of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Most of them are still poorly prepared, and for many of them it is already too late, Customs director Nanette van Schelven said to Financieele Dagblad.
The municipality of Rotterdam placed the 43 sisha lounges in the city under stricter supervision, following complaints from residents and an explosion at a sisha lounge in Rotterdam West in December. Earlier this week the police announced that the explosion at Villa Blanca was an attack, NOS reports.
Customs officers in the Netherlands found 70 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside the hold of a ship in Amsterdam harbor. The street value of the seized cocaine is €1.7 million, according to financial crimes investigation service FIOD.
So far, nobody was arrested in connection with the raid. The cargo ship arrived in the Netherlands from Brazil, and was carrying grain.
The packages of cocaine were found on December 16, but authorities only first revealed the bust on Monday. The drugs were later destroyed.
If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union with no agreement in place, it will cost the Netherlands around 2.3 billion euros up to 2023, the Court of Audit said in a new report published on Monday. This involves extra money for Customs and the Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA, as well as higher contributions to the EU, ANP reports.
Customs officers found hundreds of kilograms of hard drugs during a check at a storage company in Hazerswoude Dorp, Zuid-Holland on Tuesday. The drugs were hidden in a shipment of Christmas decorations, FIOD, the Tax Authority's investigative department, said on Thursday.
The decorations and drugs were set to be shipped to England. The drugs were seized and destroyed. FIOD and the police are investigating.
A FIOD spokesperson could not tell NOS what type of drugs were involved.
Customs divers found 239 kilograms of marijuana hidden under a sea going vessel docked at a terminal on Maasvlakte in Rotterdam on Sunday, the Public Prosecutor said.
The customs officer decided to dive underneath the ship after the seaport police received a report that something suspicious was detected during the maintenance of the ship. The diving team removed several large sports bags from under the ship. "The state of the bags showed that they have been in the water for a long time", the Persecutor said.
With only six months to go until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, it is still unclear what negotiations between the EU and the Brits will yield. It is high time that Dutch businesses who deal with the UK start preparing for a hard Brexit - the UK leaving the EU without any trade agreements in place - the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA and employers' organization VNO-NCW warned, NOS reports.
The Rotterdam investigative authorities are going to use cameras for extra surveillance at the port of Rotterdam. They hope that this will help in the fight against cocaine- and human trafficking. "In this way the net around the cocaine traffickers will be pulled tighter again", Bert Wiersema, director of enforcement policy at customs, said NU.nl reports.
The first new cameras were installed on the Maasvlakte following a successful test on Sluisjesdijk. Almost 200 more will be added in the coming years.
Customs officers and container company employees at the port of Rotterdam are paid by criminals to help them traffic drugs into the Netherlands, NOS and RTV Rijnmond report based on conversations the police tapped and the broadcasters were allowed to hear.
The port workers sometimes receive millions of euros to cooperate with the criminals, according to the broadcasters. At least three customs officers were bribed in this way.
Five people were arrested in Almere on Tuesday morning a major police action against drug trafficking. Four of the five detainees are members of outlaw motorcycle gang No Surrender, a police spokesperson confirmed to NU.nl.
The arrested No Surrender members are aged 23, 29, 30 and 42 years and all from Almere. The fifth suspect is a 46-year-old man from Hilversum and is not a member of the motorcycle gang.