Europe 1 with AFP 4:52 p.m., February 14, 2022, modified at 4:52 p.m., February 14, 2022

"If the number of seizures has changed slightly in 2021 (+1.2% to 475), the quantities apprehended have increased by almost 64% compared to 2020", all drugs combined, but with an increase of 632% for cocaine and 162% for heroin, writes the regional customs directorate of Lille in a press release.

Seizures of cocaine exploded in the North between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 632%, the regional customs department of Lille announced on Monday, a surge linked to the development of imports of this drug via major European ports.

"If the number of seizures has changed slightly in 2021 (+1.2% to 475), the quantities apprehended have increased by almost 64% compared to 2020", all drugs combined, but with an increase of 632% for cocaine and 162% for heroin, writes the regional customs directorate of Lille in a press release.

Seizures up 106% compared to 2020

Nationally, the quantities of cocaine seized have doubled compared to 2020, going from 9.06 tonnes to 18.62 tonnes (+ 106%), to reach a "historic" level, according to figures made public in early February. by the Minister of Public Accounts Olivier Dussopt.

The Minister had underlined the special attention paid by customs officers to sea freight and the search of containers.

With the slowdown in air traffic due to the health crisis linked to Covid-19, many traffickers "have fallen back on containers in the ports", explained Monday the communication department of the general directorate of customs.

 Rip-off

technique

The “saturation of the cocaine market in the United States” also makes Europe more attractive to traffickers, with higher resale prices in Northern Europe, in the context of a sharp increase in production in America Latin, according to the same source.

The traffickers use the technique of

rip off

, consisting of storing cocaine in the back of containers, often from South America, and quickly unloading it when they disembark.

Record seizure of 514 kg of cocaine at the end of January

All the major ports of Northern Europe, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Dunkirk, are affected by the phenomenon of these massive imports.

If the regional customs directorate of Lille does not include the arrondissement of Dunkirk, the Nord department is either the destination or an axis of passage to Ile-de-France or other regions.

At the end of January, customs also made a record seizure of 514 kg of cocaine on a ship coming from Chile in the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille, goods whose resale value is estimated at 36 million euros.

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