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“Enormous”: Dutch officials seize record €600m-worth of cocaine

Officials in the Netherlands have seized around 8 tonnes of cocaine at Rotterdam, valued at an estimated €600 million in street value – a record haul at the port by a considerable margin.

Before this, the largest shipment ever seized by authorities at this port was a 4.5 tonne shipment in 2020, while another large shipment of 3.6 tonnes was made in 2021. This seems to imply that such large shipments are not isolated incidents.

The drugs, which were discovered in July but only announced this week, were concealed in a container mixed with 12 pallets of bananas on a ship travelling from Ecuador. They were transported in 8,064 one-kilogram bricks of cocaine, according to prosecutors.

Rotterdam Customs Director Peter van Buijtenen described the find as “enormous.”

“Once again we have succeeded… in dealing a serious blow to the port’s drug traffickers,” he said.

Last year, approximately 47,000 kilograms of illegal drugs were apprehended in Rotterdam, though analysts say that only 50-60% of the narcotics being trafficked through the port are actually detected and stopped.

The president of the Dutch police union has previously described the Netherlands as a “narco-state,” asserting that criminal drug dealers operating on the black market rival the mainstream Dutch economy.

“I call the Netherlands a narco-state 2.0 because drugs pump so much money into the legal economy that it takes over,” said Jan Struijs, speaking to Swedish broadcaster SVT last August.

“It undermines democracy but also the economy.”

In June of this year, the EU’s official body for monitoring illegal drugs claimed that corruption in Europe is being “underestimated,” and that drugs are now “everywhere” in the continent.

“We never had so many drugs being smuggled through Europe or produced in Europe,” EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel said, adding that the “organised criminal groups” dealing in drugs were very competent.



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