Last year almost 10 tonnes of drugs were seized at Rotterdam port, most of which was cocaine from South America, broadcaster Nos said at the weekend.
However, the true total is likely to be far higher, as smugglers increasingly ‘hitch’ a ride with ordinary container shipments, sources told the broadcaster.
‘For every shipment that gets stopped, a couple are undetected,’ one source said. ‘Sometimes criminals even tip off the authorities about a small shipment or that of a rival. While the authorities are busy looking into that, another consignment gets through.’
The customs worker arrested earlier this year for his role in drugs smuggling via Rotterdam is not the only corrupt official at the port, the broadcaster said. It bases its claim on documents from the investigation.
Gerrit G was arrested after the discovery of 400 kilos of cocaine, hidden in a shipping container from Brazil. However, he is also believed to have been involved in a 3,000 kilo shipment seized last November. That was the second biggest cocaine find ever made in Rotterdam.
G’s job was to pre-select which containers would be checked when they arrived at the port, Nos said. He has admitted letting through at least five shipments of drugs and was paid 7.5% of the market value of each consignment – some €2,000 per kilo.
Police found a bag with over €1m in cash at his home in s-Gravenzande as well as a note with the number of the container where the drugs were found.
During his interrogation by police, he admitted that other officials in the Rotterdam customs department were also involved in drugs smuggling. Some of them were senior in rank to him but one worked closely at the same department, the police records quote G as saying.