This is the largest seizure ever made in Europe: 23 tonnes of cocaine were discovered in the port of Hamburg, Germany, and in that of Antwerp, Belgium. German customs announced Wednesday. .

The biggest catch was made in Hamburg. Sixteen tonnes were found in five containers from Paraguay. The cargoes all had to go to the Netherlands.

And it is precisely the Dutch police who got the tip. She arrested a 28-year-old man, manager of an import company in Rotterdam, who is suspected of being responsible for the delivery of these 23 tonnes of cocaine.

The investigation is continuing in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium to allow possible other arrests, according to German customs.

“If we start with a market value of between 70 and 75 euros per gram, then we are talking about a total market value of between 1.2 and 3.5 billion euros, depending on whether the cocaine is sold pure or cut “, said the head of customs in Hamburg René Matschke.

One of the “biggest seizures in the world”

In Hamburg, one of the three main European ports with Rotterdam and Antwerp, these containers, considered suspicious, were searched from top to bottom. The drugs were hidden in cans, concealed under a first layer of containers containing putty.

A total of 16 tonnes were found in approximately 1,700 boxes. In the Belgian port, the cocaine was concealed in a container carrying wood.

This is a “absolute record. Never before has such a quantity of cocaine been seized at one time “, Dutch police said in a statement. This entry is one of the “five most important in the world”, emphasizes René Matschke for his part.

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If the port of Hamburg has become an important hub for cocaine on the European continent, that of Antwerp remains the first access route. The Belgian authorities seized there in 2020 nearly 65.5 tonnes of cocaine, a new record.

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