The customs brigade at the port of Marseille seized 71.6 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a container from Martinique on Wednesday, the customs department announced in a press release.
The agents, alerted by the “marking” of an anti-narcotic dog, discovered in the container which contained moving effects 64 cocaine loaves in caches arranged between two sofas, “said the same source.
This discovery follows the implementation at the beginning of July by Marseille customs officers of a new system for pooling information from different services: UCIMAR (Marseille maritime targeting unit), intended to better target containers likely to conceal fraudulent goods.
second most used drug in the EU
This is the largest catch made in the eastern basin of the port of Marseille, mainly dedicated to ferries and cruise ships. Most of the freight traffic is carried out in the Fos-sur-Mer basin where 500 kilograms of cocaine were seized in January, said the customs communication.
The market for cocaine, the second most widely used drug in the European Union after cannabis, is “expanding”.
For the fourth consecutive year, record quantities of cocaine (214.6 tonnes) were seized in Europe in 2020, up 6% compared to 2019, of which three quarters were in Belgium (70 tonnes), the Netherlands Bas (49 tonnes) and Spain (38 tonnes), according to Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
In France, the quantities of cocaine seized in 2021 doubled compared to 2020, going from 9.06 tonnes to 18.62 tonnes (+106%), to reach a “historic” level, according to figures made public in early February by the Minister of Public Accounts Olivier Dussopt.