The record amount of cocaine Belgian authorities have seized in Antwerp this year has created a significant backlog in its disposal, causing security concerns as tonnes of it are still waiting to be incinerated.
Just one raid in mid-October saw more than six tonnes of cocaine seized in the Belgian port, found in two shipping containers coming in from Suriname, Belgian customs revealed.
What has been described as "the mountain of cocaine" by Antwerp prosecutor Franky De Keyser earlier in October has now been stored away at undisclosed locations.
The pile-up was caused by several big confiscations in recent weeks, and limitations to the tonnage the incinerators can handle in one go, Federal Public Service Finance spokesperson Francis Adyns told Euronews on Monday.
"The main issue for the customs administration is to destroy all as quickly as possible all the cocaine," he said.
"If we have a huge drug bust, in terms of 5 to 8 tonnes, not everything can be immediately destroyed because of the capacity of the incinerators and in terms of environmental restrictions on the destruction of large amounts of drugs," Adyns clarified.
"But in the meantime, agreements were made with the incinerators who will provide us with more capacity to incinerate them."
Details of the plans to incinerate it and the schedule of incinerations are being kept secret due to fears that criminal organisations could now strike at those locations in an attempt to recover some of the seized narcotics.
"We have to deal with a lot of money (in terms of its street value)," Adyns said.
"The cost of the price on the street of a gramme of cocaine is about €50. So one can imagine if we have seized a few tonnes, what amount that represents."
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