Authorities in the German port city of Hamburg have found over €300 million worth of cocaine in a cargo ship container from Guyana containing rice.
According to Deutsche Welle, Hamburg authorities discovered 1.5 tons of cocaine in a freight container, one of the largest quantities ever seized in the northern German port city, a spokesperson for the Customs Investigations Office said yesterday.
Rice from this country has been used on several occasions to conceal cocaine. Some rice exporters from this country have previously been implicated in such shipments.
The massive haul, which has an estimated street value of around €300 million (US$353 million), was hidden between sacks of rice in the container which came from Guyana, local newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt said.
“The 1.5 tons of cocaine seized may be a highly pure drug, which would be tripled in price for street sales,” the Hamburger Abendblatt quoted an official as saying.
The container had arrived in Hamburg’s port at the end of June on the 300-meter-long container ship, “CMA CGM Jean Gabriel.”
The container was to be loaded onto a feeder ship together with 11 other transport containers and then ultimately carry the cargo to Poland. As a result, the container was temporarily stored at the Hamburg terminal.
Investigators at the Joint Customs and Police Investigation Group (JIT) had reportedly received a tip-off about drug smuggling, Deutsche Welle said.
The container in question was then taken to the city’s Waltershof customs office and examined in a testing facility. Officers found 47 large packages hidden between the rice sacks and within those packages, a total of 1,277 small parcels with cocaine, the report said.
The parcels all had various symbols on them, including a cat’s face, the Gallic rooster, and the Ampelmännchen (red and green traffic light symbols shown on pedestrian signals in Germany). Several hundred of the packages were marked with the same logo.
Authorities presumed the cocaine was to be distributed from Poland to bulk buyers all over Europe who would then sell the drugs to street dealers.
A variety of commodities from this country have been used to conceal cocaine including timber and pepper sauce.
(Source: Stabroek News)