Eight people, including four teenagers, have been arrested in an operation targeting drugs couriers in the Rotterdam port area.
Police said the men, aged between 17 and 26, were suspected of working as ‘collectors’ or uithalers, unloading drugs from container ships to be distributed on the streets.
Two of the men, aged 19 and 20, were detained at the port in the early hours of Monday after security guards noticed suspicious activity.
Five others – three youths from Almere aged 17, 18 and 19, a 28-year-old man from The Hague and a 23-year-old with no permanent address – were arrested just before 6am. The last suspect, a 26-year-old man, was taken into custody in the afternoon.
All eight remain in custody while police investigate the link between them.
Last year the number of collectors arrested in Rotterdam fell compared to 2021, but in recent weeks there has been a rising trend again, the prosecution service said on Tuesday.
A total of 47,000 tonnes of cocaine were seized at the port last year, a big drop on the 70,000 intercepted the previous year. However, the amount seized in Antwerp increased from 90,000 to 110,000 tonnes, indicating that drug smuggling gangs may have changed their routes in response to better preventive methods in Rotterdam.
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