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  • Writer's pictureThe DigitalBank Vault

How #SkyECC users transformed the port of Antwerp into a huge drug trafficking epicenter #Encrochat


Yet not a week goes by without a large seizure of cocaine, usually originating from Brazil, Colombia or Ecuador. "A few years ago, we were surprised when we discovered loads of several hundred kilos. Now it has become routine," said the same investigator. Thus, more than 90 tonnes were seized in 2021, for an estimated market value of between 4 and 5 billion euros. This was 35% more than the previous year, and 14 times more than in 2011. But customs officials are aware of the limits of their interventions.

According to them, barely 10% of imported cocaine is discovered. "The level of financial losses incurred by a large seizure leads to a vicious circle," said the customs officer. "The traffickers then need to recover their losses as quickly as possible."

On the banks of the Scheldt, no terminal escapes this game of hide and seek. Some are particularly sensitive areas, such as the "MPET MSI," a sector that receives the main lines from South America. Or the "Fruit Terminal" — Europe's largest port hub specializing in fruit.

Concealing bundles of cocaine in bunches of bananas is a classic. It was in a cargo of this type, arriving from Ecuador, that two tons of powder were seized on July 28. Grapefruits covered with kerosene are also popular, provided that the Antwerp traffickers get the goods back quickly. Recently, bags of white powder continued their journey to the fruit and vegetable section of a Polish supermarket.



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