Six arrests after smuggling 509 kilos of cocaine
As a result of a successful cooperation between the National Investigation Service and the Hit and Run Cargo (HARC) Team, 509 kilos of cocaine have been intercepted in Rotterdam. The narcotics were hidden in three sea containers with furniture, gearboxes and diesel engines and have a value of 18 million euros.
The HARC Team Rotterdam, a cooperation of the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Seaport Police, Customs, the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service and the Public Prosecution Service, and the National Investigation Service of the National Police Services Agency (KLPD) arrested four men and two women in the ages between 30 and 45 years in Rotterdam, Vlaardingen, Amstelveen and a holiday park in Ouddorp in connection with the large-scale smuggle of narcotics.
During the search of the suspects' houses, a basement room and business premises in the port of Rotterdam, documentary evidence as well as narcotics, money and arms were seized.
In June of this year, with the aid of sniffer dogs, Customs found 408 packages with in total 405 kilos of cocaine in a container with furniture from Ecuador. The HARC Team found approximately 82 kilos of cocaine in a shipment of gearboxes that had been shipped from Colombia via Panama to the port of Rotterdam. The narcotics turned out to have been hidden in an ingenious manner in the gears and shafts of the machinery.
Last month, eight diesel engines with cocaine were found in Antwerp in a sea container from Colombia. On closer inspection in the Netherlands, it turned out that the narcotics had been hidden in the crankshafts, fly wheel shafts and pistons of the engines. The cocaine had been packed in the hollow spaces in plastic foil covered with a reddish greasy substance.
In total, the National Investigation Service found approximately 22 kilos of cocaine with the aid of specialists with professional equipment. The shipment of cocaine had been shipped by the same exporter who had shipped the gearboxes with cocaine earlier on. During an inspection of the container in the port of Santa Marta in Colombia, the narcotics had remained unnoticed.
The investigation by the National Investigation Service and the HARC Team has made it clear that a shipping office in the port of Rotterdam has been used by the drug traffickers in order to import the cocaine into the Netherlands. The drug traffickers have probably incorporated companies in Colombia and in the Netherlands so as to give the container transports a legal flavour.
The suspects will be brought before the Examining Magistrate in Rotterdam on Friday.