Major haul of cocaine in Rotterdam: eight tons in a shipment of Ecuadorean bananas


Major haul of cocaine in Rotterdam: eight tons in a shipment of Ecuadorean bananas

Friday, August 11th 2023 – 11:17 UTC



The cocaine was hidden in a container alongside bananas on a ship that had arrived from Ecuador. Some 8,000 packets of the drug were discovered in the containers.

Ecuador again is headlines. Netherlands authorities have seized eight tons of cocaine in the port of Rotterdam, prosecutors announced on Thursday. The drug is valued at an estimated US$660 million and represents the biggest haul ever recorded at the port. The last biggest was a 4,500-kilogram haul made in 2020.

The drugs were discovered in July, but the find was only announced on Thursday. The cocaine was hidden in a container alongside bananas on a ship that had arrived from Ecuador. Some 8,000 packets of the drug were discovered in the containers.

“On July 13, customs carried out the largest ever drug seizure in the port of Rotterdam,” prosecutors said. “A total of 8,064 one-kilo packages of cocaine were extracted from twelve pallets of bananas.

”Once again we have succeeded… in dealing a serious blow to the port’s drug traffickers,“ Rotterdam Customs Director Peter van Buijtenen said. He called the haul ”enormous.”

Customs said that such large loads of cocaine are becoming rarer, with most recent hauls being substantially smaller than that reported on Thursday.

In 2022, about 47 tons of narcotics were seized in Rotterdam. Investigators say only around 50-60% of drugs smuggled through Rotterdam are discovered. During the first half of 2023, Netherlands customs seized about 29,702 kilograms of drugs, which is more than in the same period last year (a little over 22,000 kilograms).

The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are the top three European countries for illegal cocaine imports. Most of the drug is shipped out from Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil.

 





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