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Belgium seizes 900 kilos of cocaine

Belgian customs officers have seized 900 kilos of cocaine hidden in a shipment of cocoa beans from Colombia, their service said on Monday.

The haul, detected and confiscated last Thursday in the port of Antwerp, was estimated to be worth some 45 million euros ($47 million).

Antwerp is the main gateway for cocaine into the European market, a legacy of the facility’s historic trade with Latin America and its fruit production.

The drug, shipped in from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Panama, is often concealed in consignments of bananas or pineapples, though the smugglers keep coming up with new methods to dodge port checks.

Belgium in 2021 seized a record total 89.5 million tonnes of cocaine in Antwerp, a jump of one-third over the amount found the previous year.

A customs spokeswoman told AFP that, through the end of May, 24 tonnes have been seized so far this year, which on average would be a slightly lower amount than for the same time last year.