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Drug smuggling into Germany drastically increases

Wesley Rahn
February 7, 2020

Drug smuggling statistics indicate that the amount of heroin, cocaine and ecstasy found by German customs officials has risen sharply over the past two years.

German police officer with a brick of cocaine
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken

The amount of illegal drugs seized coming into Germany spiked considerably in 2019, the German government said.

Between 2019 and 2017, the amount of heroin found by German customs officials took a particularly drastic jump, going from 62 kilograms to 918 kilograms (138 pounds to 2,020 pounds).

Over the same time period, the amount of cocaine seized increased from 3,200 kilograms to 10,000 kilograms and ecstasy from 580,000 tablets to 1,300,000 tablets.

The 2019 drug smuggling statistics were first published in January by the German Finance Ministry in response to a request for information by the free-market liberal Free Democrats (FDP) party. The Finance Ministry oversees the German customs office.

The Finance Ministry said that "newly emerging and internationally active groups are using new routes and smuggling methods that require intense observation."

Read more5 facts about cannabis laws in Germany

Drugs by air, sea and land

The ministry added that drugs reach Germany on every possible method of transportation by air, sea and land.

The origin depends on the substance. Heroin often comes from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran and gets to Germany by traversing the Balkans. Cocaine comes from South America hidden on freighter ships or in airmail packages. Hashish and cannabis tend to come from Morocco and the Netherlands.

Read moreGermany's largest-ever cocaine shipment seized by customs

On Friday, German customs officials said they seized 27 kilograms of cocaine worth more than €1 million hidden in cans of baby food at Frankfurt Airport in January. 

In a press statement, German customs said two men, arriving two days apart, had attempted to smuggle the cocaine into Germany from South America. In both cases, the men were arrested after drug-sniffing dogs detected the substance in their suitcases after arrival.

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