German authorities have seized a total of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine from South America worth more than EUR 124.5 million on the black market.
Customs arrested a total of nine suspects between the ages of 29 and 56 suspected of smuggling 19 shipments of pure cocaine at Frankfurt Airport in Germany’s Hesse State.
The substance was reportedly smuggled using the ‘rip-off’ concealment method where legitimate containers are exploited to import the drug without the shipper nor the consignee being aware of the nature of the cargo.
Using the technique, the gang had attempted to illegally import a total of 1.5 tonnes of the drug – worth more than EUR 83 (GBP 72) per gramme in Germany – over the past three years.
Officials revealed that the cocaine – originating from South America – was concealed in packages of between two and three kilogrammes (4.4 and 6.6 lbs).
The largest individual seizure was estimated at about 225 kilogrammes (496 lbs) and worth more than EUR 18.6 million (GBP 16.2 million).
Frankfurt’s Public Prosecutor’s Office revealed that five of the arrested have already received sentences ranging from six years and seven months to nine years and nine months behind bars.
Head of the customs investigation office in Frankfurt am Main Cosima Schmidt said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “Thanks to the extensive seizures of cocaine, we were able to withdraw a considerable amount of the drug from the illegal market and thus make a not inconsiderable contribution to the security of the citizens.”
President of the Police Headquarters in Frankfurt am Main Stefan Mueller said: “The considerable amount of cocaine seized illustrates the great importance of combating drug-related crime in the Rhine-Main area and in Frankfurt am Main.
“The tried-and-tested cooperation and joint investigations by the customs investigation office and the police headquarters in Frankfurt am Main were once again successful.”
Spokesperson Carina Orth from the Customs investigation Office Frankfurt am Main added: “The seizures were only revealed to the public at this point because of investigative tactical reasons.”