Police have intercepted a haul of 300 kilograms of cocaine at Rotterdam docks after receiving a tip-off.
Three men aged between 22 and 28 were arrested after the drugs were found in a car on the Maasvlakte. Inquiries revealed that the load had been taken from a container arriving from Brazil.
The Telegraaf reported that a record 23,000 kg of cocaine had been seized at the port this year, with an estimated street value of €1.2 bn. The total includes 15 ‘major hauls’ of 500 kg, with the largest single shipment of 3,000 kg recovered in August.
The prosecution service publishes official figures at the end of each year. The final amount for 2019 is likely to be much higher as November and December are usually the peak season for cocaine smuggling.
A customs officer identified only as ‘Peter’ told the Telegraaf he was concerned that extra customs personnel being brought in to deal with the repercussions of Brexit were not being properly trained to work on counter-smuggling operations.
‘They’re going straight out to the port for surveillance work after a three-week course of weapons and self-defence training,’ he said. ‘Whereas in the past you had to work three years for the customs service and complete a four-month surveillance training. Then you were broken in for the first six months by an experienced colleague.’