Approximately $1.11 billion worth of cocaine, its biggest ever haul, was seized at the northern port city of Hamburg, Germany by its custom officials.
The shipment initially bound for Antwerp from Uruguay was part of the 4.5-ton cocaine seizure in Hamburg, Germany. The Hamburg customs officials at Hamburg port noted the findings included pressed cocaine in 4,200 packets hidden in 221 black sports bags inside the 4.5 tons container.
The German port city recorded more than 4,200 packages discovered in a shipment where the shippers claimed the container was filled with soybeans. Hamburg's customs office confirms the examinations and routine check done two weeks ago, led to the discovery of the drugs recovered. Coming from the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, the suspicious shipment was bound for Antwerp, Belgium.
German customs officials also confirm the confiscation sets a new record for its Biggest Ever Haul in cocaine at five short tons (4.5 metric tons). The total worth is approximately €1 billion ($1.11 billion) in street value.
In a statement released on Friday, the Hamburg Customs agency said. "This enormous amount represents the largest single seizure of cocaine in Germany,"
Further remarks from the Hamburg prosecutor's office show investigation had already begun into the intended destination for the shipment.
"The confiscated cocaine has been destroyed under extensive and strict security measures," it added.
The port at Hamburg is Germany's largest and third busiest in Europe. Hamburg's harbor is often regarded as the "gateway to the world" as Germany's trade and travel have a heavy reliance on the port throughout its history.
The EU Drug Markets Report shows that Rotterdam was the major entry point for drug smuggling activities, but increasing traffic and handling is on the rise in Hamburg.
Over the last few years, cocaine shipments of close to a ton have been seized on several occasions, but Friday's announcement by the German authorities was a record amount.
In 2018, German authorities confiscated and destroyed drugs worth $592 million in collective street value. Germany has become notorious for drug usage.
In March of 2019, Germany ranked top on a Europewide study for amphetamine and crystal meth usage following the close investigation of its wastewater.