German authorities say they have seized the largest cocaine haul in the country’s history after confiscating 4.5 tonnes of the class A substance, worth €1bn ($1.11 bn).
The enormous haul was on its way to Antwerp, Belgium, when it was discovered in a shipping container in the port city of Hamburg two weeks ago. The city’s customs office said the ship had originated in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo.
According to the paperwork, the container was supposedly made up entirely of soybeans, but when officers opened it up they found more than 4,200 packets of cocaine in 211 sports bags.
Rolf Bösinger, the state secretary in charge of customs at the Federal Ministry of Finance, praised customs officers for making the discovery.
Customs officers found 211 sports bags packed with cocaine. Credit: PA
He said: “This outstanding success proves once again how powerfully German customs fight crime.
“With sophisticated risk analysis, customs succeed in opening the right containers and extracting illegal goods from the enormous number of containers that pass through the Port of Hamburg every day.”
Authorities said it was the largest individual confiscation in German history and that the drugs have already been destroyed.
In a statement, they said: “This enormous amount represents the largest single seizure of cocaine in Germany. The confiscated cocaine was destroyed under strict and extensive security measures.”
This comes weeks after a cargo ship owned by JP Morgan Chase was found to have 20 tons of cocaine on board, worth an estimated $1.3 billion. According to US Customs and Border Protection, it was the largest vessel ever seized in the agency’s 230-year history.
It is said to be the biggest bust in the country’s history. Credit: PA
Meanwhile, just last month a nervous passenger on a flight from Bogota to Barcelona was stopped by Spanish police when they noticed him looking nervous after his flight had landed, attracting the attention of the authorities.
When they questioned him, they noticed the hair iece he was wearing under his hat looked disproportionately large. On closer inspection, the police noticed that he had a package stuck to his head that contained around €30,000 (£27,000) of cocaine.
The police posted the find on Twitter, complete with the use of relevant emojis, of course.
A police statement said: “There is no limit to the inventiveness of drug traffickers trying to mock controls.”