The operation lasted greater than week and culminated within the arrest Wednesday of a 28-year-old man from Vlaardingden, the Netherlands, whose handle was on the cargo, Dutch police stated.
Engaged on a tip from colleagues within the Netherlands, customs officers within the German port metropolis of Hamburg opened three containers listed as containing building putty, German Customs Investigation head Rene Matschke informed CNN. Within the container testing facility, they discovered that the cans have been loaded not solely with putty but additionally with packages of cocaine.
Investigators discovered 16,174 kilograms (35,658 kilos) of cocaine, hidden in 1,728 cans of building putty. The containers got here on a ship from Paraguay, through Tangier and Rotterdam, the police stated.
It was “fairly disgusting to separate the cocaine from the putty as it’s so sticky,” Matschke informed CNN, including that the the medication would have a avenue worth of a number of billion euros.
The Dutch police stated a “danger evaluation” they carried out led German authorities to test the three containers on February 12.
Dutch authorities stated that following that seizure, they started an investigation into the recipient of the Hamburg cargo, which led them to 11 containers on their manner from Panama to Antwerp, ostensibly crammed with pineapple, mackerel, squid and wooden.
Belgian authorities on Saturday discovered 7,200 kilograms (15,873 kilos) of cocaine within the container carrying blocks of wooden, based on the Dutch police.
“The intercepted mega-shipments to the Netherlands collectively kind an absolute report,” the Dutch police stated in an announcement. “By no means earlier than has a lot cocaine been intercepted without delay.”
Officers stated it was not solely the most important seizure of cocaine ever in Europe, however one of many largest single seizures worldwide.
Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary in Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance, praised the customs officers, saying: “Now we have succeeded in seizing a report quantity of cocaine. With this blow towards organized narcotics crime — additionally because of the exemplary cooperation with European accomplice authorities — German Customs has as soon as once more impressively demonstrated its clout. Our technique of continuous to massively strengthen customs is working.”
Hamburg customs officers deal with about eight million containers a 12 months.