French customs officials confiscated cocaine worth around 74 million euros in the northern French port of Le Havre on Monday night. A ton of cocaine was discovered in a shipment of palm kernels from Ecuador, said Minister of Public Finance, Gérald Darmanin, on Wednesday evening. It was the largest cocaine discovery in France this year.
Agents searching the ship found found 15 bales of burlap containing the smuggled drugs, representing a total of 1066.5 kg of cocaine, officials said. The seizure “is the most important carried out by Customs this year,” Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a statement.
“This is a net loss of more than 74 million euros for the criminal network that organised the transport. For all this, I thank the French customs officers for their vigilance,” he added.
Earlier this month, German customs seized 4.5 tons of cocaine in a container in the port of Hamburg. It was the country’s largest ever seizure of the drug, with an estimated street value of one billion euros.
The drugs, which were compressed into 4,200 packages hidden in more than 200 sports bags, were discovered in a Netherlands-bound shipping container supposedly transporting soybeans from Uruguay.
In 2018, French customs services intercepted a total of 12.2 tons of cocaine, an increase of more than 32 percent compared to the previous year.
A report published in June by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), revealed that in 2017, the last year for which figures were available, more than 140 tons of cocaine were seized in Europe, the highest ever recorded.
Introducing the report EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel said:
“The challenges we face in the drugs area continue to grow. Not only are there signs of increased availability of established plant-based drugs like cocaine, but we are also witnessing an evolving market where synthetic drugs and drug production within Europe are growing in importance.”