Major drug bust in Latin America linked to Port of Rotterdam
THE authorities in Panama and Colombia have confirmed the discovery of massive amounts of illicit narcotics bound for the Rotterdam port, adding that the seizure of approximately 3,500 kg of drugs in Panama was the country's greatest ever drug operation, reports Container News.
In Colombia, another 2,300 kg of cocaine was discovered. At the same time, police discovered nearly 1,400 kg of cocaine at the Port of Rotterdam, which has earned itself a bad reputation for drug operations linked to it across various countries.
In what seems to be the greatest narcotics raid in Panama's history, local officials stated that they discovered 100 suitcases on board a container ship that originated in San Vicente, Chile, concealing 3,499 shipments of cocaine of one kilogramme each. Authorities boarded the ship when it arrived at the Pacific port in the Central American country and noticed that the customs seals had been tampered with.
Given the history of trafficking of illicit goods from Chile to the Netherlands via Panama, authorities stated that they were already on high alert for the ship.
On the same day at the port of Cartagena in Colombia, a consignment of 2,279 kg of cocaine was discovered hidden in one-kilogramme packages. This confiscation of drugs is worth over US$100 million, according to local officials. The narcotics were also on their way to the port of Rotterdam.
Similar to the Panama raid, vigilant officials spotted irregularities with customs seals on a refrigerated container destined for the Netherlands and uncovered 2,270 shipments of narcotics hidden inside 29 duffel bags.
In the following week, police in Rotterdam discovered 930 kg of cocaine stashed in a shipping container filled with old cooking oil. The container was bound for a firm in Ter Aar, Zuid-Holland, when it arrived in the Netherlands from Curacao. The company, however, is not suspected of being involved in the trafficking operation. According to the Rotterdam Public Prosecution Service, cocaine had a market price of around US$80 million.
In the same week, another drug bust worth US$45 million was carried out by the customs officers. They discovered 529 kilos of cocaine in the port side hold of MS Trudy, which was docked at a Merwedehaven enterprise. The vessel had originated from Brazil after making stops in Dunkirk and Antwerp.
Despite the greatest attempts, numerous major shipments of cocaine from around the world have landed in the Netherlands in recent times. The Rotterdam raids were the result of an ongoing collaboration among the Customs, port police, the prosecutor's office, and the Financial Crimes Inspectorate (FIOD). All narcotics confiscated in the Netherlands were destroyed.