Belgium has seized so much cocaine it is struggling to destroy it all
Published on: November 25, 2022 10:47 (EAT)
File image of a police officer spraying gasoline on packages of cocaine. REUTERS/Roberto Guzman
Belgium has seized so much cocaine from smugglers operating through the port of Antwerp that it needs more incinerator space to destroy it, officials said Monday.
Authorities are concerned that depots used to store the drugs could become targets for robberies by powerful gangs seeking to recover their lucrative cargoes.
"There's a problem with incinerator capacity," Belgian customs service spokesman Francis Adyns told AFP, confirming reports in the local press, promising that "a structural solution is on the way."
Officials in the Flanders regional government said a plan could be announced as soon as Tuesday.
Belgium's latest problem stems from the astronomical quantities of cocaine from Latin America which are intercepted in Antwerp, Europe's main port of entry for the illegal trade.
Belgian authorities are on course to seize more than 100 tonnes in 2022, a new record after 89.5 tonnes last year.
According to local press reports, suspected gang members have been seen using drones to scout around customs depots housing seized cocaine worth millions of euros.
Authorities are working quickly to destroy the seizures but, Adyns said, to incinerate cocaine "there are environmental standards to be met."