The record quantities of cocaine intercepted in Europe in recent years have been driven, to a large extent, by seized consignments that reached Europe by sea, in particular in containerized freight in seaports, although seizures are also made at sea. Very large quantities of cocaine have been seized in the seaports of Antwerp, Belgium, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and, most recently, Hamburg, Germany, while large quantities have also been seized in Spanish and Italian seaports.
In most cases, the containers are contaminated as they are waiting to be loaded, meaning traffickers require access to the port areas. While there has been at least one case of so-called “ninjas” slipping into ports hidden in secret compartments in trucks, it is far easier to recruit port workers.
However, in other cases, traffickers never enter the port, where traffickers recruit corrupt drivers, transport companies, and container yard workers to load drugs into containers as they travel the long road between the agricultural zones and the ports.
Read the first part of the series about "Narcotics and Container Terminal Safety"