QUITO – Ecuadorian Interior Minister Jose Serrano announced on Sunday that police from his country, Belgium and The Netherlands are investigating the shipment of eight tons of cocaine to Europe at the beginning of this month.
The eight tons of coke were seized on Oct. 8 in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, “in a new joint action among the police of Ecuador, Belgium and Holland,” wrote Serrano on his Twitter account.
He added that police from “Ecuador, Belgium and Holland are moving forward with the investigation to break up the criminal band responsible” for shipping the coke.
At the beginning of the month, the local press reported that the Antwerp Attorney General’s Office announced that authorities in that city had seized eight tons of cocaine shipped from Ecuador with a street sales value of 500 million euros (about $647 million).
The drug was hidden in a container of bananas and was destined for the Dutch market, the report said.
Police discovered about 7,000 packets of cocaine weighing a little over one kilo (2.2 pounds) each during a routine check and removed it but left the bananas inside and allowed the container to be shipped, according to the report.
Thanks to information provided by Belgian customs authorities, Dutch police followed the alleged traffickers transporting the container to an industrial zone on the outskirts of Rotterdam, where they arrested the Belgian truck driver and four Dutch citizens who were unloading it, the press report said.