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Historic Cocaine Seizure: 8 Tons of Drugs Found in Maersk Reefer at Rotterdam Port

Image: Maersk

Dutch customs have achieved a historic milestone in the fight against drug trafficking, uncovering a staggering eight tons of cocaine concealed within a Maersk containership at the bustling Port of Rotterdam.

The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has disclosed a jaw-dropping street value of €600 million ($653 million) for the seized drugs. The container, originating from Ecuador and transiting through Panama, arrived in Rotterdam under the guise of a banana consignment.

Executing a meticulous operation, Dutch customs uncovered the illicit cargo concealed within 12 pallets of bananas. A total of 8,064 one-kilogram packages of cocaine were ingeniously hidden. Maersk, a key player in the maritime industry, confirmed its association with the shipment.

This unprecedented seizure shatters previous records, leaving behind the 4.6-ton bust in 2005 and the Dutch record of 3.8 tons confiscated in 2021. The Netherlands has impressively seized 29.7 tons of cocaine in the first half of this year alone, highlighting the scale of the challenge.

While a significant accomplishment for the Port of Rotterdam, this bust falls short of the 2019 record when a Port of Philadelphia operation yielded a staggering $1.3 billion worth of cocaine from an MSC containership.

The ongoing investigation underscores the relentless battle against drug smuggling via maritime routes, emphasizing the necessity of constant vigilance and stringent enforcement.

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