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Record amount of cocaine seized in Antwerp in 2022

by editor

Belgian authorities seized a record 110 tons of cocaine at the port of Antwerp in 2022.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem, together with Dutch State Secretary for Allocations and Customs Aukje de Vries gave details on the cocaine seizures at Antwerp and the Dutch port of Rotterdam, which combined came to 160 tons.

The two countries said they would continue to work together to combat drug trafficking. “Belgium and the Netherlands regularly exchange strategic decisions, training and information gathered by artificial intelligence, and joint operational actions are also launched on the ground,” according to a statement, adding that both countries will “invest in strong customs.”

Belgium will recruit more than 100 new employees in the port of Antwerp and purchase new scanning equipment, according to the press release.

“It means that every day brilliant detective work is delivered,” Van Peteghem said at the press conference. “It shows that the ongoing professional and decisive approach of the Belgian customs is successful in the relentless fight against the international drug trade.”

The new numbers came a day after an 11-year-old girl was shot dead in Antwerp in what is believed to be a drug-related incident.

According to Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever from the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), “there is a drug war going on.”

Kristian Vanderwaeren of Belgium customs told local media that Antwerp is the “top destination” for drug traffickers as Belgium accounts for 40 percent of all cocaine findings in Europe.

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