35,8 tonnes of cocaine seized in port of Antwerp over six months
In the first half of this year, 35,8 tonnes of cocaine, 2,2 tonnes of hashish and 1,3 tonnes of heroin were seized in the port of Antwerp. Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem revealed these numbers on Wednesday morning, at the border inspection post on the Scheldt river's west bank in Beveren, East Flanders.
"The figures are alarming. Operation Sky has yielded good results, but we have not broken the chain of drug trafficking. The party goes on", said Kristian Vanderwaeren, administrator-general of Customs and Excise.
Just last week, a large-scale drug gang was rounded up in Antwerp, said to have traded 15 million euros worth of cocaine over the past 18 months.
Over a year ago, the largest judicial and police action ever took place in our country as a result of a hacking operation into SKY cryptophones. Belgian police and justice officials were able to intercept 1 billion messages from more than 100.000 users worldwide. A heavy blow was dealt to organised crime.
Since then, thousands of suspects have been identified and hundreds of new cases have been opened. Just last week, for instance, a large-scale drug gang was rounded up in Antwerp, said to have traded 15 million euros worth of cocaine over the past 18 months. Detectives raided 21 locations - mainly in Antwerp - last Tuesday and arrested several suspected leaders of the gang. 900.000 euros in cash were also seized.
© BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM