German authorities reveal record cocaine seizure in summer 2023

  • World
  • Tuesday, 18 Jun 2024

BERLIN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- German investigators have seized 35.5 tons of cocaine in a major operation carried out during the summer of 2023, dealing a major blow to the illegal drug trade, authorities announced on Monday.

The cocaine had a street value of 2.6 billion euros (2.8 billion U.S. dollars), according to a joint statement by German police and customs.

The operation was an "outstanding investigative success," said North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Justice Minister Benjamin Limbach at a press conference, underlining that it was the "largest cocaine find on European territory."

With the help of international authorities such as Europol and the Colombian police, nine out of a total of ten sea containers were seized. The bulk of the cocaine, 25 tons, was found in the northern German port city of Hamburg. Meanwhile, another three tons were found in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and eight tons in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Raids followed at various locations throughout Germany at the end of May and early June this year, which led to seven arrests. Evidence including a firearm and a blank-firing weapon, and assets in the form of gold bars, cash in excess of 20,000 euros, and a Porsche car worth 250,000 euros were seized, according to the joint statement.

To counter the growing cocaine trade, the European Union launched a ports alliance at the beginning of 2024. With ports particularly susceptible to drug smuggling and abuse by criminal networks, cooperation in this area is set to be strengthened. (1 euro = 1.07 U.S. dollar)

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