In a large drug bust at the Port of Rotterdam, authorities uncovered 1.1 tons of cocaine hidden among car tires in a container originating from Turkey during routine customs inspections, the AmsterdamFOX news website reported on Thursday.
The prosecutor’s office said the seized cocaine, which was estimated to have a street value of 84.3 million euros ($91 million), was sent from Turkey to an address in Hellevoetsluis in 23 packages hidden in 19 sports bags.
The office confirmed the confiscation and subsequent destruction of the seized drugs, also announcing that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
According to a 2023 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Turkey’s role as a transit country for cocaine has been growing as the amount of drugs seized in the country has increased sevenfold since 2014.
The report also reveals that the cultivation of coca bushes globally saw a 35 percent increase between 2021 and 2022, while the amount of the drug seized in Turkey reached a record 2.8 tons in 2021.
An article in Homeland Security Today last month also showed that the Turkish criminal networks involved in the cocaine trade between the Middle East and Latin America had recently merged with fentanyl trafficking.
The column, which examines Turkey’s history of drug trafficking, including its role as a bridge between source and destination countries for heroin in the 1970s and 1980s, suggests that politicians, bureaucrats and criminal groups in Turkey are involved in the cocaine trade that has flourished under the current Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
The article further notes that the purging of more than 95 percent of anti-drug trafficking teams after corruption scandals in 2013 and a coup attempt in 2016 have created a favorable environment for criminal markets in the country.