In a huge drug bust that involved German and Belgian authorities, more than 23,000 kilograms of cocaine were seized at a German port. The German port handles more than eight million containers in a year.
The cocaine's street value is worth billions of dollars, and it's the biggest amount of cocaine to be detected by European authorities. In the statement released by the Dutch police, the collaboration between the two countries led to one of the biggest cocaine seizures in history.
The shipment was owned by a Netherland citizen
The cocaine bust took over a week. During their investigation, port authorities discovered the shipment belonged to a 28-year-old Netherland citizen.
Rene Matscke, the customs investigation lead in Germany, said his office conducted the raid based on information that was shared by their colleagues in the Netherlands. He added that the shipment was disguised as a construction putty loaded with bags of cocaine.
The total amount of cocaine found in 1,728 containers of construction putty amounted to about 16,174 kilograms of cocaine. The shipment was brought in on a Paraguayan ship.
Separating the cocaine from the construction putty was an arduous process
According to Matschke, it was difficult for port authorities to separate the cocaine from the construction putty. He also added that the seized cocaine was worth a lot of money.
The cocaine found in the first container led the Dutch police to further inspect other shipments that belonged to the Netherland citizen. Their investigation led them to eleven other containers returning from Panama. The containers were filled with fruits, seafood, and building materials. Belgian authorities found up to 7,200 kilograms of cocaine in the container carrying the building materials.
Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary in Germany's Federal Ministry of Finance, lauded the efforts of the customs officers in a press interview. He said it was proof that Europe's efforts to improve customs was the right decision.