Cocaine seizures in port of Antwerp remains stable, but quantities decrease

While the number of times drugs are found in and around the port of Antwerp remains the same, the quantities of these seizures is falling, according to half-yearly figures released by the Belgian customs authorities on Wednesday.

Cocaine is still flooding Antwerp in 2024, the Belgian customs authorities say, and the war on drugs is far from over. Looking at the half-yearly figures, customs notes that 57 tonnes was seized in the first half of 2021. This dropped to 44 tonnes in the same period in 2023 and to 22 tonnes this year.

But the number of seizures remains the same. This could be due to the new scanners installed in the port of Antwerp, customs say. In addition, cocaine production in Latin America has increased every year since 2014.

Criminals "reduce the quantities because they know that we are checking more", says Customs administrator-general Kristian Vanderwaeren. "Because the maritime police are monitoring more, Antwerp is actually less interesting for smuggling drugs into Europe. But we remain target number one."

Both cocaine use and seizures are also increasing in Europe: 184 tonnes was seized in Europe in 2020, rising to 340 tonnes last year. The ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam are the main entry points for cocaine in Europe.



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