Authorities Investigate Narcotics Trafficking Amongst Fruit Traders in Netherlands

March 20: The tax office, customs officials and police have been mounting a coordinated operation against a number of fruit traders in the province of Zeeland who are suspected of drug trafficking, public broadcaster NOS reports.

The operation kicked off with a raid on a company in Kapelle which was preparing to receive 1,500 kilos of cocaine from Antwerp hidden in a cargo of bananas, the broadcaster says. That cargo had been intercepted earlier by Belgian police. Fourteen men, all from the Netherlands, were apprehended during the raid.

‘It is very common for cocaine to be hidden in a cargo of fruit,’ chief detective Rienk de Groot told the broadcaster. ‘By tackling the companies we tackle drug trafficking.’

The operation, which was dubbed ‘Project Piggyback’, included checks on suspicious bank transactions, such as frequent deposits of cash, and companies that are registered on campsites or private addresses.

Police said the main goal of the operation was to investigate the fruit sector in the region. ‘We are reducing our sick patient’s temperature, so to speak’ De Groot said.

Source: Dutch News

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