Cocaine seizures neared 60,000 kg last year; Criminals shifting away from Rotterdam port
The Dutch authorities seized nearly 60,000 kilograms of cocaine throughout the Netherlands last year, significantly more than the over 51,000 kg seized in 2022, the government announced on Wednesday. The lion’s share was seized at the port of Rotterdam, though criminals seem to be shifting away from that port.
Last year, the authorities seized 45,506 kilograms of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam, compared to 467,789 kilograms the year before. It was the second annual decrease in a row, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) reported. The street value of the cocaine seized in Rotterdam was around 3.5 billion euros.
Customs officers in Rotterdam scanned 40 percent more containers last year than in 2022. They also made 452 arrests of people suspected of trying to retrieve trafficked drugs from containers or ships inside the port. The arrests included 400 unique individuals, several of whom were arrested more than once.
The remainder of the cocaine was seized at other ports or airports. Vlissingen was a popular port for cocaine trafficking last year. The amount of the drug seized at airports doubled in the past year – 2,250 kilograms in 2023 and nearly 1,300 kilograms in 2022.
The OM noted that criminals were smuggling drugs in smaller amounts, though the Dutch authorities did seize a record 8,000 kilogram-shipment of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam last year.
In recent years, the Dutch authorities have intensified their cooperation with Latin American countries in fighting drug trafficking. And that seems to be having an effect. Fewer drug shipments destined for the Netherlands were found and seized in Latin America last year.
A striking decrease was visible in Brazil – the Dutch and Brazilian authorities intensified their cooperation last year. Similar cooperation treaties are also in place with Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, and Costa Rica.