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Criminals seem to be changing cocaine smuggling methods

Criminals appear to be changing their smuggling methods. In the past, cocaine used to often be well hidden in the cargo of containers. It was only removed upon final destination. Now the drug packages are almost always placed loose into containers.

These containers are those of companies that are completely unaware of the drugs. Corrupt workers or thieves then remove the cocaine at the port itself. This is evident from the many people, so-called extractors, who are being arrested. In 2021 there were more than 400. In the previous year, it was 280.

Criminals like using essential links in the container transport logistics process. These run from South America to Europe's major ports, including Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Employees are bribed to pass on information. Or to use their positions to allow the cocaine to pass through surreptitiously.

Well organized
In August 2021, there was a case involving 4,100kg of cocaine. The drugs extraction was found to be extremely well organized. Staff at the receiving cold storage and transshipment company in Rotterdam proved an essential link to those running this smuggling ring.

The workers extract the cocaine and prepare the consignment for transport. The investigation showed that a large group of company employees gradually became involved. That included a warehouse supervisor and forklift drivers.

On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, police arrested two men in connection with this case. They had earlier already arrested five other suspects. They worked at the "misused" transshipment company in Rotterdam. They were, therefore, able to underhandedly smuggle in the cocaine via the existing infrastructure.

Once discovered, police seized the drugs. The containers they were found in came from Costa Rica. The containers, with empty transport crates, were then allowed through. The police wanted to see who all knew about this consignment.

It soon became clear that several employees at the transshipment company in Rotterdam were in on it. These people took measures to put the consignment on hold. They were under the impression that the cocaine was still in the transport crates.

The Dutch police had an extensive prevention discussion with the refrigeration and transshipment company in question. It was found to be entirely blameless.

This drug bust was one of the largest of 2021 in Rotterdam.


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