Police and customs officials discovered almost 47 tonnes of cocaine at Rotterdam port last year, well down on the 70 tonnes seized in 2021.
By contrast, seizures at Antwerp port reached a record 110 tonnes, compared with 90 tonnes in 2021, according to the Belgian authorities.
Dutch police did, however, arrest 95 people suspected of having a major role in drug smuggling via the port last year, up from 59 in 2021. However, fewer drugs runners – 251- were arrested while emptying containers or waiting to do so.
In total, officials seized drugs worth a ‘head-spinning €3.5 billion,’ officials said. Four tonnes of cocaine was also found at Vlissingen port, double the 2021 total.
Port officials have begun working together more with South American countries where the cocaine originates, and have stepped up screening and counter-corruption measures among port workers.
‘It is extremely important that we carry out more research into corruption,’ said port police chief Jan Janse. ‘We have removed people who were crucial drug smuggling links.’
Most drugs were hidden in fruit, but investigators also found the drug packed into hollow beams, between waste and in double-bottom containers. Officials also found 2,426 kilos of heroin, 3,149 kilos of cannabis and 100 kilos of ecstasy.
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