Massive cocaine haul in Rotterdam, hidden in cassava root

cassava cocaineRotterdam port police have found over 3,000 kilos of cocaine in a shipment of cassava, an edible root, from Costa Rica.

The drug was divided into 3,003 packages with a total weight of 3,500 kilos and had a street value of €120m, the public prosecution department said in a statement.

It is the second biggest haul of cocaine ever made in Rotterdam. The biggest find – 4,200 kilos – was made in 2005.

The police investigation is continuing and there are no reports so far of any arrests.

This April, Dutch police said Rotterdam is one of the most important centres for the global cocaine trade and between 25% and 50% of western and central European consumption is smuggled through the port city.

The police base their claim on 2013 drug seizures which show Rotterdam had overtaken Antwerp as the centre of the western European trade.

Last year Belgian police seized 4,800 kilos of cocaine in Antwerp while Rotterdam seizures totalled almost 10,000 kilos.

The police stress that the exact volume of cocaine imports is hard to quantify. Only 50,000 of the 11 million containers which reach the port every year are scanned, on the basis of a risk profile.

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