On Tuesday, Belgian customs and police collected 11.5 tons of pure cocaine In the port of Antwerp, investigators found a record shipment of pure cocaine last week. The coke was hidden in five containers, in which allegedly scrap metal was transported from Guyana, South America. The final destination was the Netherlands. The 11.5 tons of drugs with a street value of about 900 million euros are called by the Belgian authorities ‘the largest overseas drug catch ever’.
Three house searches were carried out in Belgium on Wednesday and two in Landgraaf and Beek in the Netherlands. Two suspects were arrested in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. Surrender was requested of the person arrested in the Netherlands.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the catch has a connection with the lawsuit against the former Belgian police chief Willy Van M. who was arrested in September and is currently being prosecuted in another case for drug transport and money laundering.
On October 1, the federal prosecutor’s office announced at a press conference that an international, well-structured criminal organization had been disbanded that was able to ship large consignments of coke from South America to Belgium on a very regular basis. There appeared to be links with the upper world, such as forwarding offices, storage areas and transport companies, as well as with other criminal organizations, each of which took on part of the activities.
During the ongoing investigation into the drug shipments organized by the former police chief and his cronies, in which some 22 people are still detained, it was discovered that another ship was en route from Guyana to the port of Zeebrugge. Upon arrival, the containers were transferred and transported to the port of Antwerp.
The preliminary state of the investigation shows that a well-structured criminal organization has been dismantled
The investigators followed this cargo and intercepted it in Antwerp. When opened, no less than 11,500 kilos of pure cocaine with a street value of 900 million euros was found. The drugs were packed in steel containers, which in turn were put in a large sea container. According to the federal prosecutor’s office, this is “the largest overseas drug seizure ever, worldwide”. The ultimate record has not yet been broken, because it is in the name of a ship with 16 tons of cocaine on board that was sailing along the coast from South to North America.
The federal prosecutor’s office in Belgium is nevertheless very satisfied with the catch. “The preliminary state of the investigation shows that a well-structured criminal organization has been dismantled that is suspected of shipping large consignments of cocaine from South America to Belgium on a very regular basis. The gang is said to have links with the upper world and various other criminal organizations. ”
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Drug transport and money laundering
Had this impressive cargo not been intercepted, it could be added to the already impressive track record of Willy Van M. and his gang, who were arrested early last month in connection with large-scale drug smuggling. During that investigation, 67 house searches were carried out in early October in Belgian Limburg (19), Antwerp (33), East Flanders (2) and also in the Netherlands (7), Spain (3) and the United Kingdom (3).
The gang, which also includes the notorious Limburg family Aquino, is suspected of having imported at least 3000 kilos of cocaine via the port. During their arrest, 1.3 million euros in cash and 40 luxury cars were seized.
Finally, Van M. also seems to be involved in the money laundering practices in the Belgian Jewish community that recently came to court. In addition, a group of 46 Orthodox Jews is suspected of having purified nearly 9 million euros in drug money for South American drug gangs. In that case, Van M. was caught in the Netherlands with 325,000 euros in cash in the car.
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