Customs authorities in Germany and Belgium have seized a record amount of cocaine – more than 23 tonnes – that was destined for the Netherlands.
German officials discovered 16 tonnes in five shipping containers that had arrived in the port of Hamburg from Paraguay earlier this month.
Police in the Netherlands were notified and a further 7.2 tonnes of cocaine was seized at the Belgian port of Antwerp.
German officials said the cocaine had a street value of billions of euros.
A 28-year-old man suspected of involvement in the trafficking of the drugs has been arrested in the Netherlands, Dutch police said on Wednesday.
The two raids, which took place earlier this month, resulted in the seizure of an “enormous amount of cocaine”, customs officials said.
In Antwerp, the drug was hidden in a container filled with wooden blocks from Panama.
The cocaine found in the northern German city of Hamburg was concealed in tins of wall filler, which had entered Europe on a container ship from Paraguay.
Customs officers decided to take a closer look at the Paraguayan containers after noticing “clear irregularities” with some of the contents – tin cans that were meant to be filled with putty.
“Beyond a layer of genuine goods, packed just behind the container door, numerous tin cans were in fact filled with other goods,” officials said.