More than 1.6 tonnes of heroin seized in Port of Antwerp
Two large shipments of heroin totalling 1,660kg were recently found and seized at the Port of Antwerp, the Antwerp Public Prosecutor's Office said on Thursday. The discovery was the result of cooperation with the Georgian authorities.
A tip-off from Georgia recently led to the identification of two containers originating in Iran and bound for Antwerp via Georgia, with Estonia as the final destination. Customs were able to locate and intercept the containers in Antwerp.
The containers contained a large quantity of heroin hidden between loads of steel cables and steel plates. Customs officers' findings will be handed over to the Georgian authorities for further investigation against those responsible for the smuggling.
Heroin is not often intercepted in the Port of Antwerp. Cocaine, on the other hand, is seized regularly. A few weeks ago, customs seized hundreds of kilos of cocaine near the Europa terminal. The drugs were found in two vans that had been stopped by police.
The extent of drug trafficking through Belgium is shown by the record seizures of cocaine in the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam last year. According to customs officials, both ports remain in the sights of international criminals. Authorities in Antwerp, which has been waging a war on drugs for months, worry that more drug traffickers will start operating in the city.
Belgian and Dutch customs will cooperate even more closely in the future to reduce drug trafficking. Belgian customs are investing in 108 new staff at the port of Antwerp, buying new scanning equipment and further rolling out a risk scanning project. In the coming years, the Netherlands will focus on artificial intelligence, chemical detection, container tracking and creating technical barriers.
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