Due to the increased violence and greater threats from the criminal environment, some customs officers are being more heavily armed.
This concerns the Customs Special Assistance Team (TBB Customs), which is mainly active in the ports of Rotterdam and Vlissingen. The unit will be equipped with semi-automatic shoulder-fired weapons.
TBB Customs regularly carries out “high-risk” transports of seized drugs to the place where they are destroyed. According to De Vries, heavier weapons are necessary “given indications of threats from criminal organizations and the safety of the employees involved”.
The team is deployed, among other things, to support and protect customs employees involved in combating drug smuggling.
The amount of drugs intercepted at the ports in recent years has grown enormously. This year, according to the State Secretary, this amounted to more than 49,000 kilos. Five years ago, a total of more than 24,000 kilos were seized.
Eight arrests for large-scale drug smuggling
Today the Public Prosecution Service reported that eight people from the Rotterdam region have been arrested in an investigation into drug smuggling through the ports. They are suspected of, among other things, importing hundreds of kilos of cocaine, possession of weapons and bribery. Data carriers, drugs, cash and various weapons were found during house searches.