'Europe's biggest haul': 23 tonnes of cocaine seized by customs authorities

WION Web Team
Berlin, Germany Published: Feb 24, 2021, 07:07 PM(IST)

Cocaine found in over 1,700 tins of wall filler after German authorities seized more than 16 tonnes of cocaine in the northern port city of Hamburg, in Europe's largest cocaine haul to date Photograph:( Reuters )

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Dutch police said they arrested a 28-year-old man early Wednesday in the Netherlands in connection with both hauls totalling 23 tonnes

Germany and Belgium have seized 23 tonnes of cocaine in a record haul of the drug in Europe, German customs said Wednesday.

The two shipments together represented a street value of roughly 600 million euros ($730 million), the prosecutors said, making it the biggest catch of cocaine headed for the Netherlands ever.

Dutch police said they arrested a 28-year-old man early Wednesday in the Netherlands in connection with both hauls totalling 23 tonnes.

In Hamburg, Germany, 16.17 tonnes of cocaine were found in over 1,700 tins of wall filler which had arrived on a container ship from Paraguay.

Dutch police said the illicit cargo intercepted was all bound for "the same destination in the Netherlands". 

"The seized mega shipments to the Netherlands together form an absolute record. Never before has so much cocaine been intercepted at once," they said in a statement.

Customs officers at the busy port in Hamburg had decided to take a closer look at the Paraguayan containers after noticing "clear irregularities" with its contents -- tin cans that were meant to be filled with putty.

"Beyond a layer of genuine goods packed just behind the container door, numerous tin cans were in fact filled with other goods," said customs.

Investigators ordered the containers unloaded, and found the cocaine stash in over 1,700 tin cans.

"This is the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Europe and one of the largest single seizures worldwide," German customs said, referring to the Hamburg haul.

In all, 102 tonnes of cocaine headed for the European continent were intercepted last year by an international law enforcement project co-implemented by the UN.

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