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5 September 2005
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<TD =xq>Dutch Seize Tons of Cocaine in Rotterdam
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Authorities seized 5 tons of cocaine hidden in reels of steel cable in the Port of Rotterdam last month in what prosecutors described Monday as one of the country's biggest drug busts.
The seizure was the largest in the Netherlands in terms of value, with an estimated street worth of $275 million.
Eleven men and two women of six nationalities were arrested after the seizure on Aug. 3 - most of them last weekend. A 45-year-old Colombian suspect died after falling from an apartment window in Amsterdam, prosecutors said in a statement.
Prosecutors said the man died while trying to escape during a police raid, but national investigators have launched an independent inquiry into his death.
The seizure was kept secret while the arrests were prepared. Police in Spain and Belgium have made an undisclosed number of additional arrests in the case, Dutch prosecutors said.
The 13 suspects were from the Netherlands, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Greece and the United States, and their ages ranged from 15 to 50, prosecutors said.
Additional arrests were possible, they said.
The cocaine was concealed within reels of steel cable 12 feet high and 6 feet wide.
The drugs were divided between two shipping containers recorded as having been sent from Venezuela and bound for Iraq via Belgium. The cocaine was unloaded in Rotterdam. </TD></TR></T></TABLE></TD></TR></T></TABLE>