Germany seizes 35.5 tonnes of cocaine in ‘largest bust of the class A drug in Europe’


German investigators have confiscated 35.5 tonnes of cocaine in what authorities say is the biggest bust of the class A drug Europe has ever seen. 

Prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf said they confiscated the cocaine, which they valued at €2.6bn (£2.19bn), last year after receiving a tip from Colombian authorities.

A total of 25 tonnes of cocaine was found in the port of the northern city of Hamburg as part of Operation Plexus, another eight in the Dutch port of Rotterdam and almost three in Colombia. The drugs were hidden among vegetables and fruit, prosecutors said.

Seven people aged between 30 and 54 were arrested in recent weeks and include German, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Moroccan, Turkish and Ukrainian nationals.

Their identities have not been disclosed, in line with German privacy law.

Read more:
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Seven people have been arrested. Pic: Public Prosecution Dusseldorf

They are accused of importing the large amounts of cocaine from Latin America to Europe between April and September 2023. The defendants are believed to have had yet unknown accomplices allegedly living in Turkey.

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Dr Benjamin Limbach, minister for justice in North Rhine-Westphalia, praised authorities for having “pulled off a coup here” as he hailed the teamwork which resulted in “the largest cocaine find on European soil to virtually go up in flames”.

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He added: “This is a blow to international organised crime. It’s a precise punch in the jaw that will hurt the drug lords.”

Public prosecutor Julius Sterzel said the suspects allegedly transported the cocaine in containers “and hid it between crates of fruit and other legal goods”.

He said assets were also seized, including five gold bars worth around €23,000 (£19,430), a Porsche 911 Turbo worth around €250,000 (£211,221) and various luxury items.

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