Port Of Antwerp
A new record was set at the port of Antwerp in 2017: almost 40 tonnes of cocaine was seized. 10 tonnes more than in 2016. 135 suspects were arrested for drug trafficking. The federal police (FGP) also repossessed over 10 million euros in cash and possessions.
Director of the FGP, says to that the number of discoveries of cocaine does not increase, but rather the number of kilos that are found each time: ‘In the past, maybe 50 or 100 kg of cocaine was hidden in a few bags in a container. An accomplice took the bags and then brought the bag to a waiting escape car. Those days are over, thanks to the gates protecting the container terminals. This is why criminal organizations are focussing on transporting large shipments of cocaine ranging from 1,000 to 7,000 kg. They are smuggled out of the port with the help of corrupt port employees.
The FGP also focuses on taking away criminal assets. Last year 10.2 million euros worth of cash and property was seized. Including from a group named the Mixers, one of the largest drug gangs in Belgium. Both Belgium and Morocco seized bank accounts, cash, real estate, expensive cars and other luxury goods of the group. The Mixers are also suspected of stealing top-secret police files from a Belgium court.
In September last year, a meeting was held between various ministers, the mayor of Antwerp, Customs, various police services and the Public Prosecution Service to discuss how to reduce drug-related crime in Antwerp. Concrete measures will be announced at the end of this month to improve the fight against drug trafficking.