Last night Belgian police arrested 7 Dutch men and seized three handguns after crashing into a car to stop it in Antwerp. The men, aged 22 to 35 attempted to escape after the attack but were all arrested. Photos and videos taken by local residents were released showing the incident and the aftermath.
The intention of the men is currently unclear. However, there are allegations that they are linked to Belgium’s growing drug trade and could have connections to a drug bust that occurred on Tuesday where several tons of cocaine were seized at the port of Antwerp. The cocaine was headed to Belgium from Sierra Leone and was hidden in soy meal. According to local outlets the men could have been attempting to take back the seized cocaine. The vehicle was reportedly close to a customs warehouse. There is currently an ongoing investigation into the intentions of the individuals involved.
Antwerp Cocaine Port
Antwerp has become a key trafficking point for Europe’s growing cocaine market, which recently overtook the US to become the world’s largest. Some are now calling Antwerp the cocaine capital of Europe which sees a huge amount of cocaine coming from South America. Authorities announced that 110 tons were seized in 2022, up from 90 tons in 2021. The head of Belgium customs has suggested that 40% of cocaine coming into Europe grows through Antwerp. Antwerp is Europe’s largest port, and second busiest, so the sheer quantity of cargo, along with Belgium’s weak government and uncoordinated police departments, make it a perfect entry point for cocaine into the European market.