Customs at Cologne/Bonn Airport Hashish hidden between toys and cocaine „paintings“

Cologne/Bonn · Customs seize lots of drugs at Cologne/Bonn Airport. At the main customs office in Cologne, the officials now showed how creative the smugglers sometimes are.

 Customs present paintings painted on flat-pressed cocaine.

Customs present paintings painted on flat-pressed cocaine.

Foto: dpa/Thomas Banneyer

The Cologne Main Customs Office has once again made a large-scale find of smuggled goods during controls at Cologne/Bonn Airport. After the customs officers had discovered more than 4.6 kilogrammes of smuggled gold jewellery from passengers during the summer holidays - as already reported - the focus at a press conference on Tuesday at the Cologne Main Customs Office was on various drug consignments, some of which were very creatively disguised, according to customs spokesman Jens Ahland.

He said his colleagues had seized around 114 kilogrammes of marijuana at the airport in the past twelve weeks. In addition, eleven kilogrammes of cocaine, around 16 kilogrammes of ketamine, almost 2.7 kilogrammes of crystal meth, more than eight kilogrammes of amphetamine and over 2.2 kilogrammes of hashish. Furthermore, the customs officers discovered more than 1.3 kilogrammes of heroin and, last but not least, more than 8,300 ecstasy pills. All the drugs were in parcels, said Ahland.

Hashish between children's toys

What surprised the customs officers once again was the ingenuity with which the perpetrators packed the drug consignments: "Cocaine disguised as painted pictures and mashed potatoes, heroin and crystal meth in books and hashish hidden between children's toys are good examples of the daily challenge not to be deceived by the appearance or presentation of the packages and their contents," said Ahland. All drug consignments had been checked by customs on their way via Cologne/Bonn airport in the course of the fight against international drug smuggling. However, for tactical reasons, Customs could not provide more detailed information on the routes.

"Particularly remarkable was the seizure of five kilograms of highly pure cocaine, which was pressed very flat and painted for camouflage," the customs spokesperson explained: "The quantity of these cocaine pictures alone would have resulted in a single dose for as many people as fit into the sold-out stadium of 1. FC Cologne." Further investigations are being conducted by the Essen customs investigation office.

More and more finds of hard drugs

The news of the renewed seizures of drug consignments at Cologne/Bonn airport does not come as a surprise. At the annual customs press conference in May, Kai Willkens, head of the control department at Cologne's main customs office, had already identified the airport as a kind of hotspot for drug smuggling: Last year alone, 2.2 tonnes of drugs had been seized in parcels. "Through the postal and courier service providers, Cologne/Bonn Airport is a hub for the world- and Europe-wide trade in parcel shipments," Wilkens emphasised. "Quite a lot of drug shipments" are distributed via the airport. This development must of course also interest customs, he said, adding that they also rely on international cooperation. "Drug seizures are at a constantly high level," summarised customs spokesman Ahland on Tuesday: "We find something in the parcels during controls at Cologne/Bonn Airport almost every night," he emphasised. What is surprising is that "we now also come across hard drugs in the order of three to five kilogrammes in parcels". Such quantities had not been seen in previous years. (Original text: Axel Vogel / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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