At the Port of Ploce, Croatian police made their third major seizure of cocaine this year, worth a record 72 million dollars. The shipment was hidden inside containers originating out of South America.

As per the Croatian police, smugglers are now targeting ports in Southern Europe, as major European ports like Hamburg, Antwerp, and Rotterdam operate with ever-tightened security.

The latest seizure was seen in March-end, when the Croatian Customs Administration, along with the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Department, confiscated around half a ton of cocaine in the port of Ploce.

With an estimated value of $72 million in the international market, the shipment was discovered hidden under a false floor. It had been welded into the base of a container that was labeled as importing fruit from Ecuador.

This seizure forms a pattern that Croatian police had been figuring out since the beginning of this year. It is also one of the largest seizures made in Croatia. The Croatian Police have placed Ploce under special observation, and have also broken up two drug rings operating in the region.

As per the Croatian media, the containers were meant for Croatia’s neighbor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, reinforcing the belief that instead of being distributed in Croatia, the drugs were meant for Western European nations.

Speaking to Croatian reporters, the head of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Police, Ivan Pavlicevic said, “We have witnessed German, Dutch and Belgian police seize 20 tons of cocaine earlier this year. We assume that what is coming to Europe these days has been redirected to seaports in Croatia, Greece, and Italy, to bypass seaports in Western and Northern Europe.”

As per Croatian officials, Ploce was reportedly targeted because of its lack of more sophisticated detection methods in comparison to major European ports. Only random inspection of containers is done over at the port, with dogs being used for contraband detection.

Posted in Maritime Security by Ankur Kundu on Apr 23, 2021 at 08:01.