Professional Diver, Suspected of Smuggling Cocaine, Arrested in Antwerp
Brussels Police arrested a professional diver, Nabil K, suspected of aiding a drug syndicate with a smuggling operation. Investigators found Nabil in soaked clothes near quay that’s infamous for drug trade after an anonymous tip.
According to Ken Witpas from Public Prosecutor’s Office, it is a known fact that syndicates and drug trafficking rings that smuggle cocaine and other drugs sometime hire professional divers as these experts are needed for so-called drop-offs, when packages of cocaine are thrown off a ship into the water. Public Prosecutor’s Office acknowledged that they have records of previous cases where divers must disconnect ‘torpedos’ full of cocaine that are attached to ships below the waterline.
Het Nieuwsblad newspaper reported that the professional driver told police someone wrongly accused him and had no link with any drug syndicate. He explained that he was wet because he drank too much alcohol after participating in a gay sex party. A used condom in his pocket had to serve as evidence that he did had a wild night of partying, not cocaine-diving.
Brussels Police discovered a complete set of diving equipment on the embankment, together with a wheelbarrow. Originally Nabil denied the equipment was his, but later confessed. He changed his story few times which raised suspicion. According to Witpas, “First he said he was going to pick oysters with a friend. Later he said he was looking for a safe that was supposedly dumped in the river, for that same friend. However, investigators haven’t identified any other suspects or traces of drugs yet.
Nabil’s Lawyer said there is no substantial evidence that his client committed a crime. He further said his client made some contradictory statements therefore he might be a suspect, but not necessarily a perpetrator.
Belgium- Europe’s largest container port for bananas has also become the continent’s gateway for another tropical product: cocaine.
The European Union drugs agency estimated that almost half of Europe’s cocaine supply come through Belgium- Antwerp Port. Antwerp Mayor said the scale of cocaine smuggling at the port of Antwerp- through which half of Europe’s supply of the drug reportedly passes- is so vast that corruption of local politics is inevitable.
“The port is as leaky as a colander…The cash that we handle in the cocaine trade is enormous.”
The massive amount of
Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, said, “Illegal drug production and trafficking remains one of the largest and most innovative criminal markets in Europe.”