According to BBC News, a joint German and Belgian investigation uncovered a record amount of cocaine in Hamburg and Antwerp in February 2021, destined for the Netherlands. More than 500,000 pounds of cocaine was found concealed in shipping containers coming from South America.
After receiving a tip from colleagues in the Netherlands, custom officers at the port of Hamburg searched three containers on 12th February listed as carrying construction putty from Paraguay. Upon inspecting the containers, the officers found 16 tonnes of cocaine hidden inside cans of putty. The 16 tonnes of cocaine were worth an estimated street value of €1.5 billion and €3.5 billion. This operation carried out by the German and Belgian authorities in Hamburg and Antwerp is being hailed as “the largest ever seized in Europe,” and one of the largest single seizures worldwide.
Drug trafficking is currently on the rise in Europe. In 2019, Belgium alone seized an estimated 65,247 kg of cocaine entering the country. According to the World Drug Report 2021, cannabis continues to be seized in the largest quantities globally, followed by coca- and cocaine-related substances. The seizure of coca and cocaine-related substances has been rising steadily from 2015.
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