German and Belgian authorities have seized more than 25 tons of cocaine with a street value of some $730 million – and the owner of a Dutch import company was arrested in connection with the record haul, officials announced Wednesday.
The coke was found Feb. 12 in a search of five containers from Paraguay that had been flagged as suspect in a risk analysis by several European customs authorities, the customs office in Hamburg said.
They had detected “clear irregularities” in three containers, which were loaded with putty in tin cans but appeared also to contain other items, said officials, who found the drug in more than 1,700 cans.
About 17.6 tons of cocaine was found by authorities in the German port in Hamburg, while customs officials in Antwerp, Belgium, seized almost eight tons.
Referring to the overall haul, which was destined for the Netherlands, the Dutch national prosecutors’ office said that “never before has so much cocaine been intercepted” in a single operation.
A 28-year-old Dutchman who owns an import company in Rotterdam was arrested Wednesday as police in the Netherlands searched two locations – one in the port city and another in a nearby village.
“The seized mega shipments to the Netherlands together form an absolute record. Never before has so much cocaine been intercepted at once,” Dutch police said in a statement.
“The find counts among the world’s top five,” Hamburg customs office chief Rene Matschke told Agence France-Presse.
With Post wires