Germany hails largest ever drugs seizure
More than 4,200 packages in 211 sports bags two weeks ago were found in a container which was supposed to contain soybeans from Uruguay. Antwerp in Belgium was the final destination.
“This enormous amount represents the largest individual seizure of cocaine in Germany,” the Hamburg Customs agency said.
“Assuming that this likely high-purity cocaine can be cut to triple the amount for street sale, the 4.5 tonnes has a street value of approximately €1 billion.”
The cocaine has already been destroyed.
Germany’s previous largest seizure was made in 2017 when 4.2 tonnes of cocaine was found in Hamburg.
The city is Germany’s largest and Europe’s third busiest port.
The seizure comes more than a month after a raid on a cargo ship owned by JP Morgan Chase with 20 tonnes of cocaine on board with an estimated value of US$1.3 billion. US Customs and Border Protection said it was the largest vessel ever seized in the agency’s 230-year history.
The EU Drug Markets Report said Rotterdam was the main European point of entry for drugs but with Hamburg seeing increasing traffic.
Germany last year destroyed drugs with an estimated street value of €520 million.
In March Germany topped a European study for crystal meth and amphetamine use after studies of sewage.
Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has called for enhanced controls along the 347km-long Swiss border following the killing of a boy at Frankfurt’s railway main station last Monday.
The opposition has accused the Bavarian firebrand minister of populism.
He told Der Spiegel that he was planning to submit a proposal for enhanced covert checks and searches on the undulating border.
A Swiss-resident Eritrean migrant undergoing psychiatric treatment purportedly shoved a boy and his mother in front of a moving train. The mother rolled to safety while the eight-year-old boy was killed.
The suspect had identity papers but he was wanted in Switzerland in connection with domestic violence.
“I will do everything possible to arrange intelligent controls at the border,” Seehofer told the magazine.
The incident sparked rebukes from Germany’s far-right, criticising Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migrant policy.
Germany shares borders with nine countries.
Hamburg’s drugs trade is growing. Picture credit: Wikimedia