Kilos of ketamine and XTC found in airport anti-drug operation

During a global anti-drug week at the end of last year, 36 kg of ketamine and 2 kg of XTC were seized at Brussels and Liège airports. Nothing was found at Charleroi Airport. All the drugs were found in postal parcels, the Federal Public Service Finance told Belga on Friday.

The campaign, led by the Spanish authorities with the support of Europol, Interpol and Frontex, took place between 11 and 18 December at 61 airports in 36 countries, Europol said in a press release. The operations primarily targeted passengers and their baggage, as well as cargo on flights from North and South America. A primary focus was the interception of cocaine from Latin America.

The operations, part of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT), led to 46 arrests and the seizure of 850 kg of drugs, including 356 kg of cannabis and 354 kg of cocaine.

"During the EMPACT operation, information on drug discoveries at airports, as well as information on passengers, cargo and mail, was quickly exchanged through a command centre," says Francis Adyns, spokesperson for the FPS Finance. Customs worked with the police and foreign customs services.

No cannabis or cocaine was found in Belgium, but 36.1 kg ​ of ketamine and almost 2 kg of XTC were seized. Brussels Airport accounted for 17.4 kg of ketamine and all XTC, while 18.7 kg of ketamine was found at Liège Airport. All drugs were found in postal parcels. Checks were also carried out at Charleroi Airport, but no drugs were found.


A Belgian customs officer presents ketamine hidden in medical tubes during a press conference to present drug seizures of 2023 at Brussels Airport in Machelen, December 2023 © PHOTO JOHN THYS / AFP

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