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Germany’s largest-ever cocaine shipment seized by customs in Hamburg

PortandTerminal.com, August 2, 2019

In yet another record-setting drug bust in a world seemingly awash with cocaine, officials at the Port of Hamburg announced their largest-ever seizure of the drug.

HAMBURG, GERMANY – Nearly $1.1 billion worth of cocaine has been seized in the German port city of Hamburg. More than 4,200 packages in 211 sports bags were discovered in a freight container that shippers claimed was full of soybeans.

The drugs have since been destroyed under strict security, officials said.

“Assuming that this likely high-purity cocaine can be cut to triple the amount for street sale, the 4.5 tonnes has a street value of approximately €1 billion” ($1.1 billion USD), the Hamburg Customs agency said in a statement.

It added that the Hamburg prosecutor’s office was now investigating the intended destination of the container.

German officials say the discovery reflects their growing ability to interrupt international drug smuggling. But they also warn that the size of the haul indicates that South American drugs cartels are growing bolder.

Hamburg’s port, Germany’s largest and Europe’s third busiest, is often referred to as the “gateway to the world” as the country’s trade and travel has relied heavily on it throughout its history.

The EU Drug Markets Report found that Rotterdam was the main point of entry for drug smugglers, but that Hamburg was handling increasing traffic.

In recent years, cocaine shipments of up to one ton have been detected on numerous occasions, but Friday’s announcement was an unprecedented amount.

In 2018, German authorities destroyed drugs with a combined street value of €520 million ($592 million).

Germany has become notorious for drug usage. In March this year, it topped a Europewide study for crystal meth and amphetamine use following close examination of the country’s wastewater.

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