Authorities in Germany and Belgium seized over 50,000 pounds of cocaine, Wednesday, setting a new European record for the largest amount of the drug ever seized. The week-long international operation concluded with the arrest of a 28-year-old man from Vlaardingden, the Netherlands. The total street value of the cocaine seizure is estimated to be worth several billion euros.

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Cocaine, Drugs
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

“We have succeeded in seizing a record amount of cocaine,” Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary in Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance, announced Wednesday. “With this blow against organized narcotics crime—also thanks to the exemplary cooperation with European partner authorities—German Customs has once again impressively demonstrated its clout. Our strategy of continuing to massively strengthen customs is working.”

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35,658 pounds of cocaine were found hidden in 1,728 cans of construction putty being shipped from Paraguay, via Tangier and Rotterdam. Additionally, authorities found 15,873 pounds of cocaine by searching other suspicious shipments being sent to the same recipient using a process described as “risk analysis.” The second shipment was alleged to be containing blocks of wood.

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“The intercepted mega-shipments to the Netherlands together form an absolute record. Never before has so much cocaine been intercepted at once,” a Dutch police spokesperson noted.

[Via]