A massive one billion euros worth of cocaine has been found in 221 sports bags in Germany.
Thousands of packages of the drug, in its compressed form, were found in the sports bags in a shipping container which claimed to contain soybeans.
German customs made the discovery in Hamburg two weeks ago, and is the single largest haul of the drug ever in Germany’s history.
The shipping container originated from Montevideo, Uruguay, and was destined for Antwerp, authorities said in an announcement yesterday (August 2).
Authorities confirmed they confiscated 4.5 tonnes of cocaine worth €1,000,000,000 after they were examining cargo which arrived in the Port of Hamburg en route to Belgium two weeks ago.
Although the shipment paperwork claimed the shipping container was made up entirely of soybeans, customs found over 4,200 packets of pressed cocaine in the hundreds of sports bags.
This ginormous haul builds on the successes of Hamburg customs in the last two years, however German officials warn the size of this particular haul indicates that South American drug cartels are growing bolder.
Rolf Bösinger, the state secretary in charge of customs at the Federal Ministry of Finance, said in a statement:
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.
Officials said this drug bust was the largest individual haul of cocaine in German history, with the seized drugs already being destroyed under ‘strict secrecy and extensive security measures’.
The haul comes two years after approximately 3.8 tonnes of cocaine were withdrawn from service through three individual seizures.
As per CBS News, the haul also comes more than a month after a cargo ship owned by JP Morgan Chase with 20 tonnes of cocaine was also seized. The cocaine had an estimated value of $1.3 billion.
US Customs and Border Protection said this was the largest vessel ever seized in the agency’s 230 year history. Hamburg is Europe’s third biggest port, and the largest in Germany.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).