Record Setting $90 Million-Worth of Drugs Seized Across Europe

Published: 11 October 2019

Drugs seized by Europol during a new, record-setting drug seizure. (Europol)Drugs seized by Europol during a new, record-setting drug seizure. (Europol)

By Nicholas Wells

Authorities in 16 European countries have arrested hundreds of suspects and seized drugs worth more than US$90 million in a Europol-coordinated crackdown.

The confiscation of synthetic drugs sets a new record and represents “a serious hit” against the European illegal drug market, Europol said on Friday.

Between September 16 and 20 and on September 25, more than 37,000 officers targeted drug traffickers across Europe, arresting 411 people.

Authorities seized 1,300 kilograms of cocaine, more than 1,000 marijuana plants, over 19,000 ecstasy pills as well as amphetamines.

“As an example, 11.3 tonnes of MAPA pre-precursor were seized, disrupting the consequent production of amphetamines. Depending on production methods, this quantity of pre-precursors would have been enough to produce 6.3 tonnes of amphetamine worth nearly €63 million ($69.5 million) on the European market,” Europol said in a statement.

Europol says these figures are just preliminary and could rise in the near future.

The seizures were part of Europol’s EMPACT Joint Action Days - which targets organized crime - and were led by the Polish Central Bureau of Intelligence.

Started in 2010, EMPACT targets organized and “serious international crime.”

Drugs may have earned the spotlight in Europol’s release, but authorities say animal and food smuggling was also targeted.

Over 160 different species of wildlife and more than 2,000 kilograms of fish from illegal fisheries were seized.

Police say the busts and arrests have also led to the start of more than 300 new investigations.

The seizures come on the heels of similar joint action days in Central and Southern Europe and the Western Balkans during July and September respectively.

In the raids in Central and Southern Europe, 26 suspected human smugglers were arrested and more than $500,000 in smuggled cash was seized.

In the Western Balkans raids, authorities nabbed 175 people and confiscated fake visas and immigration documents.