Number of drug seizures stable in the first half 2022

The number of kilograms of drugs seized by the Customs Administration of the Netherlands (Customs) in the past six months has remained approximately the same as in the first half of 2021. This is apparent from the published six-monthly figures from Customs on drug seizures. One striking aspect is the tripling of the number of postal items containing synthetic drugs that have been intercepted. Customs has made additional checks for mail sent from the Netherlands. 

In the first six months, Customs intercepted 22,009 kilograms of cocaine. That is slightly lower than in the first half of 2021, when 22,456 kilos of cocaine were intercepted. The number of consignments for the Netherlands that has been seized abroad, on the other hand, shows a large increase. From 30,000 kilos in the first half of 2021, to 47,000 kilos a year later. In recent years, Customs has expanded its collaboration with other countries, for example, by exchanging information more often with countries from which a lot of cocaine is smuggled.

More drugs intercepted by mail

In the past year, Customs increased the number of physical checks on outgoing mail. Customs also collaborates with the United States and Australia, among others. This has led to a sharp increase in the number of confiscated postal items from the Netherlands. It concerns about 13,500 confiscated items. That is a tripling of the number of intercepted postal items a year earlier.

‘Drug smuggling is a major social problem and must be tackled hard and smart. The half-year figures on drug seizures by Customs show that more can be achieved through collaboration, also internationally’, says State Secretary Aukje de Vries of Benefits and Customs. ‘We don’t want hard drugs being smuggled into the Netherlands. Likewise, we must also play our part and intercept the drugs shipped from the Netherlands to other countries. I think it’s very good that we are stopping more and more outgoing mail, including XTC pills.’

XTC and other drugs

In addition to cocaine, Customs also intercepted other types of drugs such as heroin, marijuana and khat. A striking aspect is the 65 kilos of XTC that Customs intercepted in the port of Rotterdam. The shipment was destined for Chile. It was the first time since 2017 that Customs found XTC again; worldwide, hardly any maritime seizures of XTC/MDMA have been reported for years. See also the infographic with the types and amounts of drugs (in Dutch) that Customs intercepted in the first half of 2022.

There is intensive national collaboration to combat drug smuggling. Customs, for example, participates with the FIOD, the police and the Public Prosecution Service in Hit and Run Cargo (HARC) Teams. Customs seizures are regularly made in part thanks to the information provided by the partner organisation.