Customs agents in Belgium have seized more cocaine than they are able to dispose of in a timely manner, officials told local outlet VRT News on Saturday. It is estimated that more than 100 tons of the drug – valued at about €5 billion – will have been intercepted at the Port of Antwerp this year. This comes after a record-setting 90 tons were seized in 2021.
“There has been something of a bottleneck as there have been so many seizures and also because just one incinerator was in use,” Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the outlet. “Moreover, you cannot burn these batches in bulk, in one go, in large quantities as this would cause issues with the filters at the incineration plant.” Only 1,000kg or at most 1,500kg of the drug can be destroyed in a single session, he said.
A representative of FPS Finance, the parent agency of Belgium’s customs service, agreed. “The rapid destruction of confiscated goods is an ongoing challenge,” spokesperson Francis Adyns told local outlet Gazet van Antwerpen. “Due to the technical limitation of the licensed incinerators and environmental standards, we have to use several incinerators.”