Monday 27 March 2023

Dutch customs intercepted 27,000 letters containing drugs last year

Cocaine seized in Rotterdam. Photo: Public Prosecution Department

Dutch customs officials intercepted some 27,000 letters containing illegal drugs last year, with ecstasy and MDMA shipments to the US and Australia heading the list.

The 2022 figure is a sharp rise on 2021, when officials confiscated 15,000 items of post containing drugs. In 2020, the figure was 4,000.

The increase, customs officials say, is down to more intensive controls. The Netherlands has come under pressure from abroad to check more post for illegal substances, particularly by the US and Australia, the NRC reported earlier.

The end of coronavirus restrictions in many places may also have prompted an increase in the use of synthetic drugs at festivals and dance parties. Most of the shipments appear to have been for personal use, and ordered directly from sellers in the Netherlands, the customs office said.

Checks will be further tightened up this year.

In total, officials seized over 51 tonnes of cocaine last year, most of which was found at Dutch ports. Nevertheless, that is down from more almost 70 tonnes in 2021.

They also found 5.5 tonnes of marijuana, three tonnes of qat and 363 kilos of ecstasy pills as well as 2.6 tonnes of heroin over the year – all of which are up on 2021. Most were found at Rotterdam port and Schiphol airport.

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