Three arrested, €3 million in cash seized in cocaine smuggling probe

Part of the Hamburg haul. Photo: OM
Part of the Hamburg haul. Photo: OM

Three Dutch nationals have been arrested in an international investigation into drugs smuggling triggered by the seizure of 23 tonnes of cocaine in 2021.

In addition, some €3 million in cash was seized at a Dutch house in Schiedam, one of eight locations in the Netherlands which were raided.

The three Dutch suspects are in their late 20s and come from Den Bosch and Schiedam.

The police also searched homes and other buildings in Germany, Belgium, Spain and Paraguay and arrested several dozen people. Four properties were also sequestered, including a luxury villa worth €5 million in Spain, Dutch police said.

The investigation began after 16 tonnes of cocaine was found in three containers in Hamburg port, disguised tins of wall plaster. A second shipment, of seven tonnes hidden in containers of squid, pineapple and wood products, was then intercepted in Antwerp a week later.

That seizure led to the arrest of 28-year-old man from Vlaardingen, who has since been jailed for 4.5 years.

The investigation continued using messages gleaned from the Sky ECC encrypted message service and which enabled the other arrests.

Those arrested include people who organized the shipments, but also investors and people who worked on the logistics side, police say.

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