German authorities seize record-breaking 35.5 tons of cocaine

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18th June 2024 – (Berlin) During the summer of 2023, German investigators have successfully confiscated a staggering 35.5 tons of cocaine, delivering a severe blow to the illicit drug market. The joint statement by German police and customs revealed that the street value of the seized cocaine amounts to a staggering 2.6 billion euros (2.8 billion U.S. dollars).

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Justice Minister Benjamin Limbach hailed the operation as an “outstanding investigative success” during a press conference. He emphasized that this seizure marks the largest-ever cocaine bust on European soil, showcasing the magnitude of the achievement.

Collaborating with international authorities, including Europol and the Colombian police, German authorities managed to seize nine out of ten sea containers involved in the illicit operation. The majority of the cocaine, weighing 25 tons, was discovered in the northern German port city of Hamburg. An additional three tons were found in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and another eight tons in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The operation also led to raids across various locations in Germany, resulting in the arrest of seven individuals. The joint statement reported the seizure of crucial evidence, including a firearm, a blank-firing weapon, as well as significant assets such as gold bars, cash exceeding 20,000 euros, and a Porsche car with an estimated value of 250,000 euros.

To combat the escalating cocaine trade, the European Union launched a ports alliance at the beginning of 2024. Recognizing the vulnerability of ports to drug smuggling and exploitation by criminal networks, this initiative aims to enhance cooperation and strengthen security measures in these areas.