Cocaine worth one billion euros seized in Germany’s largest drugs haul

An undated handout picture made available on August 2, 2019, shows Germany's largest ever seized cocaine shipment of four and a half tons. The drugs were found in a shipping container in Hamburg, Germany and packed in 211 sports bags on the way from Montevideo in Uruguay via Hamburg to Antwerp, Belgium. Hauptzollamt Hamburg/Handout via REUTERS

German authorities on Friday said they had seized 4.5 tonnes of cocaine worth 1 billion euros (915.4 million pounds) in the northern port city of Hamburg – the nation’s biggest drugs haul to date.

The Hamburg customs office said it had examined a suspicious shipping container two weeks ago that came from the Uruguayan capital Montevideo and was bound for the Belgian city of Antwerp.

The container’s description said it was loaded with soybeans but authorities instead found 221 black sport bags containing 4,200 packets of pressed cocaine, the office said in a statement.

“This enormous amount represents the largest single seizure of cocaine in Germany,” it said, adding that the Hamburg prosecutor’s office was investigating who was destined to receive the contents of the container.

“The confiscated cocaine was destroyed under strict and extensive security measures,” it added.