Three Belgian teenagers arrested for drug trafficking in Rotterdam port

Four suspects, three of them minors, were arrested in the port of Rotterdam on Wednesday morning while trying to extract drugs from a shipping container.

Three of those arrested are Belgian nationals aged 14, 15 and 19. The fourth is a 17-year-old boy from Landsmeer in North Holland. 

All four suspects were detained by customs officers at a terminal in Maasvlakte and handed over to the police.

Children as young as 10 or 12 are being exploited by criminal organisations linked to the drug trade in the Netherlands

Drug extractors are typically used by criminal organisations to remove drugs, usually cocaine, from shipping containers.

In 2022, 46,789 kg of cocaine was seized in the port of Rotterdam by a team made up of customs officers, the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service, the Rotterdam police and the public prosecutor's office. The total amount seized in 2023 has not yet been disclosed.

According to a report by the Dutch Centre against Child Trafficking and Human Trafficking, an increasing number of children as young as 10 or 12 are being exploited by criminal organisations linked to the drug trade in the Netherlands.

The rise prompted the Dutch authorities in December to start researching new ways to prevent young people from turning to crime.



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