Customs confiscated a record 4.5 metric tons (5 short tons) of cocaine in a shipping container in Hamburg, northern Germany, with a street value of nearly €1 billion ($1.1 billion), it announced on Friday.
The drugs were discovered two weeks ago during a routine check, resulting in the largest cocaine shipment ever seized in Germany.
More than 4,200 packages in 211 sports bags were discovered in a freight container which claimed to be full of soybeans. The shipment was being transported from Montevideo in Uruguay, via Hamburg, to Antwerp, Belgium.
“This enormous amount represents the largest individual seizure of cocaine in Germany,” the Hamburg Customs agency said in a statement.
“Assuming that this likely high-purity cocaine can be cut to triple the amount for street sale, the 4.5 tons has a street value of approximately €1 billion.”
The cocaine has already been destroyed under strict secrecy and extensive security measures.