Authorities commence disposal of 10-tonne cocaine shipment discovered in port of Antwerp

The Federal Public Service (FPS ) Finance on Friday started the destruction of 10 tonnes of cocaine discovered and seized in the Antwerp port area on Tuesday. The part of the batch still awaiting destruction has meanwhile been stored in another, high-security location.

The huge coke seizure on Tuesday led to tense moments for customs officials: the container containing the drugs was first transferred to a warehouse north of Antwerp to remove the cocaine from a shipment of soy meal, but a group of armed men soon appeared at the location. They threatened one person, but left again soon after that.

A little later, Antwerp police stopped a van on IJzerlaan, in the port of Antwerp, containing seven heavily armed Dutchmen. It is suspectecd that they wanted to take the drugs back from customs by force. The seven were arrested by the examining magistrate after questioning.

The FPS Finance announced on Friday that the destruction of the drugs had begun, as is always the case with seized cocaine. The destruction will take some time because of the huge amount involved. In the meantime, the rest of the cocaine has been stored in an undisclosed, "high-security" location. The FPS thereby seems to be signalling to drug criminals that there is no point in trying to recover the haul.

The Antwerp region has been experiencing a wave of violent attacks linked to drug crime for some time. In 2022, 75 acts of violence were recorded in the area. Since the upsurge of drug-related violence in Antwerp, 61 suspects have been arrested, 48 of whom have the Dutch nationality.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO François WALSCHAERTS / AFP

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Antwerp police stop van with heavily armed men
The Antwerp police stopped a van containing several heavily armed men on Tuesday evening on IJzerlaan. The Gazet van Antwerpen reported this, and the news has been confirmed to Belga. Further investigation and interrogation will reveal what the group was planning to do and whether there is a link with a significant cocaine seizure in the port earlier in the day.

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