Authorities Seize Billions of Dollars Worth of Cocaine in Europe's Largest-Ever Bust

Trace William Cowen
·2 min read

Image via YouTube

While the world may feel like it’s still very much on total pause due to the ongoing pandemic, one thing that’s most certainly never on pause is the coke industry.

And this week, those who closely follow news of the recreational stimulant variety were treated with word that authorities in Germany and Belgium had seized more than 50,000 pounds of cocaine, worth billions of dollars. As detailed in this subsequent CNN report, authorities are now calling this the biggest amount of coke ever seized in Europe.

“We have succeeded in seizing a record amount of cocaine,” Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary in Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance, announced on Wednesday. “With this blow against organized narcotics crime—also thanks to the exemplary cooperation with European partner authorities—German Customs has once again impressively demonstrated its clout. Our strategy of continuing to massively strengthen customs is working.”

The week-long bust operation began with the discovery of more than 36,000 pounds of cocaine hidden inside 1,728 cans of construction putty, which were traveling on a ship from Paraguay via Tangier and Rotterdam. Dutch authorities launched an investigation into the listed recipient of the shipment, resulting in the discovery of 11 containers en route to Antwerp. More than 15,000 pounds of coke was found in a container that also contained blocks of wood. Per police, the intercepted shipments “together form an absolute record” in the history of coke-busting.

“Never before has so much cocaine been intercepted at once,” a Dutch police spokesperson noted. According to the report, the coke seizure marks both the biggest ever in Europe and potentially one of the biggest worldwide. One person, a 28-year-old man from Vlaardingen, has been arrested. As for street value, estimates are that the initial German port haul alone could have brought in as much as $4.3 billion.

This news arrives the same month as the discovery (and eventual seizure) here in the States of a shipment of corn flakes cereal dusted with coke in lieu of sugar.

Related Articles

More Complex

Sign up for the Complex Newsletter for breaking news, events, and unique stories.

Follow Complex on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok