By capturing eight tons of cocaine from a container on a Maersk containership, Dutch customs recently made the largest-ever drug seizure in the Port of Rotterdam.

The drugs have a “enormous” street value of €600 million ($653 million), according to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

More than eight tonnes of cocaine were transported in a container from Ecuador to Rotterdam via Panama while it was hidden inside a shipment of bananas.

Dutch customs withheld the name of the company or the ship on which the drugs were discovered when the bust was made last week. The cocaine was transported to the Netherlands in one of Maersk’s containers, the shipping company revealed to the Danish media site Finans.

In total, 12 banana pallets contained 8,064 one-kilogram bags of cocaine. The packages were discovered by customs agents following a container inspection and a drug-dog-assisted search. The drugs have been destroyed, and the situation is being investigated.

This bust was substantially larger than the current Dutch record seizure of 3.8 tons of cocaine in 2021 and nearly twice as huge as the 4.6 tons of cocaine discovered in 2005. The Netherlands seized 29.7 tons of cocaine in the first six months of this year.

This seizure of 23 times as much cocaine in one grab as was seized in Maersk’s native Denmark in the entire previous year is a record for the Port of Rotterdam, although it is surpassed by the $1.3 billion, 20-ton cocaine haul from an MSC containership at the Port of Philadelphia in 2019. The 9,962 teu box ship MSC Gayane is where the drugs were discovered.

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