Panama and Colombia seize huge quantities of Rotterdam-bound drugs

Authorities in Panama and Colombia have announced the discovery of enormous quantities of illegal drugs that were destined for the port of Rotterdam before, presumably, distribution throughout continental Europe.

Nearly 3,500kg of narcotics was discovered in Panama, the largest-ever amount in that country. A further 2,300kg of cocaine was found in Colombia.

These announcements came the same week that investigators in Rotterdam found more than 1,400kg of cocaine.

Local officials in Panama said they found 100 suitcases containing 3,499 1kg packets of cocaine on board a container ship which originated in San Vicente, Chile. Authorities said they were already on high alert for the ship out of concern for a history of illegal cargo transported from Chile, via Panama, to the Netherlands.

When the ship arrived at the Pacific port in the Central America country, authorities boarded the vessel and discovered that the customs seals were manipulated, a representative of the military told local media outlets. The narcotic in question had not yet been identified.

This year, authorities in Panama discovered nearly 100,000kg of narcotics, nearly all of it cocaine.

Meanwhile in the Colombian port of Cartagena, a shipment of 2,279kg of cocaine was found concealed in packages of 1kg each, also heading for the port of Rotterdam.

Customs officers noticed problems with the customs seals on a refrigerated sea container. “After this, the uniformed officers decided to pass this container through the scanner. When they saw the images, they noticed that it presented a series of anomalies, which led to a physical inspection, uncovering 29 duffel bags with 2,270 rectangular packages of varying colours,” a spokesperson told local media outlets.