€40m drug bust in Germany
Berlin - German police said on Tuesday they had seized a record haul of 1.3 tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of €40m and made seven arrests.
"This is the biggest amount of cocaine ever seized in Germany," police said in a statement.
Customs officers discovered the drugs on Monday when searching pallets of wood briquettes at Hamburg, Germany's biggest port.
Thirty-one of the 32 pallets searched contained packets of cocaine "very professionally hidden" among the briquettes, the police said.
Officials seized a total of 1 244 packets of "very high purity" cocaine imported from Paraguay.
The seven suspects, aged between 27 and 35, were all arrested in connection with the bust. Six of them were already behind bars on Tuesday, a police spokesperson said.
Some 200 police officers conducted 19 searches in Hamburg and the German states of Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. At the home of one 28-year-old suspect, police said they found €450 000 in cash.
Police said they became aware of the international cocaine trafficking network following a small 3kg cocaine bust and arrests in November.
Police have also identified the cocaine dealers in Paraguay who were involved in concealing the drugs in the pallets of wood briquettes, which were shipped from Asuncion to Hamburg.