Customs officers in August have seized a record 4.5 tonnes of cocaine estimated to be worth US$1.12 billion at Hamburg Port.
The huge haul, the largest of its kind ever discovered in the country, was found after border officials carried out a search of a suspicious shipping container.
It had arrived at the port from Uruguay, and was due to be shipped onto the Belgian city of Antwerp.
Labelled as carrying soybeans, the container was instead found during an inspection to be carrying more than 220 sports bags that had each been stuffed with a total of 4,200 packages of pressed cocaine.
In a statement, the Hamburg prosecutor’s office said the shipment was the largest single seizure of cocaine ever made in Germany, and that the drugs would now be destroyed under strict security.
The Port of Hamburg authority said in a statement that the seizure of the drugs built on recent successes achieved by the city’s customs officials, who it noted had seized 3.8 tonnes of cocaine in 2017.
Rolf Bösinger, state secretary in charge of customs at the federal ministry of finance, commented: “This outstanding success proves once again how powerfully German customs fight crime.
“With its sophisticated risk analysis, the customs authorities succeeded in opening the right containers and extracting illegal goods from the enormous number of containers that pass through the port of Hamburg every day.”
News of the discovery comes after it was reported in July that two drug traffickers were forced to call police after they locked themselves inside a shipping container filled with cocaine at Antwerp port.
The bungling organised criminals managed to lock themselves inside the container during a record-breaking heatwave, and were forced to wait for several hours while officers searched for the container in which they were trapped.
Police eventually found the pair stripped to the waist and sweating profusely inside the container on a day during which temperatures exceeded 40C in some parts of Europe.
Credit: Illicit Trade News Network