Over 70 per cent of cocaine entering Europe passes through Antwerp and Rotterdam ports

More than 70 per cent of the cocaine entering Europe passes through the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, a Europol spokesperson told the German news agency DPA in The Hague. According to Europol analysis, cocaine smuggling into Europe continues to increase.

According to Europol, more than 31 billion euros worth of illegal drugs are smuggled into the EU every year. Cannabis is the number one drug at around 12 billion euros, closely followed by cocaine at around 11.6 billion euros.

Last year, more than 300 tonnes of cocaine were seized in European ports. In Antwerp alone, investigators seized a record 116 tonnes of cocaine in 2023 - about 10 per cent more than the previous year. About 60 tonnes were seized in the Netherlands last year.

According to Europol's analysis, the quantities of individual seizures are also increasing. Last year, for example, the largest single seizure to date was made in Rotterdam: around 8,000kg of cocaine, worth around 600 million euros, was found in a container of bananas.

Increase in violence

"The huge profits from cocaine smuggling have attracted many criminal networks in the EU," said a spokesperson. This has also led to an increase in drug-related violence. The increased competition is leading to more violent confrontations, including murders, shootings, bombings, kidnappings and arson.

"The huge profits from cocaine smuggling have attracted many criminal networks in the EU"

But the increase in seizures also shows that investigators are gaining more insight into the gangs' modus operandi. Investigators have cracked criminal digital communication networks such as Encrochat, and Europol recently identified the 821 most dangerous organised crime networks in the EU.



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