Dutch customs officials seized almost 60 tonnes of cocaine at ports and airports last year, some nine tonnes up on 2022.
Most of the drug was found at Rotterdam and Vlissingen ports where officials found 140 separate consignments. The biggest seizure amounted to a record eight tonnes and was found in a shipment of bananas from Ecuador and Panama.
In total, officials also found 2.2 tonnes of cocaine at airports, almost double the 2022 figure.
The figures were announced by customs minister Aukje de Vries during a visit to Vlissingen together with Belgium’s finance minister Vincent van Peteghem. In Belgium, officials seized 116 tonnes of cocaine, up slightly on the previous year.
“Drug smugglers are ruthless and will use any means possible,” De Vries said. “We have to do everything we can to intercept the drugs and are working together with companies and other countries in this regard… This fight continues to require constant attention and investment.”
Officials in Rotterdam scanned 40% more containers last year than in 2022 and brought in underwater drones and smart surveillance cameras to help. The Netherlands and Belgium are also working closely together with officials in Latin America to combat drugs smuggling via Rotterdam and Antwerp ports.
Other drugs seizures made in the Netherlands over the year include 19 kilos of heroin, nearly four tonnes of marijuana and 377 kilos of ecstasy/MDMA. Seizures of LSD soared from six kilos in 2022 to 37 last year.
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