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Today’s business idea

A drug incinerator in Antwerp:

“We are urgently looking for additional incineration capacity,” Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium’s justice minister, said.

“The storage of the batches of seized cocaine is the responsibility of the customs service. These batches are of course closely monitored by police, customs and other services.

“They do everything necessary to limit the security risk. However, there has been something of a bottleneck as there have been so many seizures and also because just one incinerator was in use.”

In 2021, Belgian customs officers seized nearly 90 tonnes of cocaine being smuggled through the port of Antwerp, which has become the gateway for illicit imports into Europe.

The country is expected to surpass the amount of cocaine seized in its ports last year – a record-breaking period.

This year the seizure figure is on track to be more than 100 tonnes, cocaine worth about €5 billion (£4.3 billion) on the street.

It wouldn’t be so much the profit to be made from the work. It would be being able to stand there and burn money in that manner.

13 thoughts on “Today’s business idea”

  1. Sounds like a great business for someone with a specially modified incinerator…

    100 tonnes seized in a year, but cocaine cheaper than ever, indicates once more the total failure of the ‘war on drugs’.

  2. 100 tons is a lot. Say you, as a drug importer, reckon on losing 10% of your stock. (It’s not the stock that is hard to replace, it’s the links in the supply chain, i.e. the servant problem.)
    So Antwerp is getting 1,000 tons a year, and it’s only one, and by no means the largest, port in Europe.
    And if the assays are correct, street coke is 30 – 50% pure.
    So the amount going up Europe’s nose could be over 50,000 tons a year! Mind boggling as well as mind rotting.

  3. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    They are also going to need it for millions of unsold copies of Punch magazine covid vaccine doses.

  4. Legalise. Duty on at £10/g and anybody with a license to sell tobacco can also sell it. Immediately solve a massive crime problem and at ~3% prevalence in UK adults (say 2M users) each contributing £500 that’s over a billion in tax (plus VAT) on the very people who are always demanding moar tax. Actually, make that an additional £10/g on organic fair trade carbon neutral coke because tossers.

  5. I remember reading somewhere that there’s a power station in America that generates power by burning seized drugs. Could be a win-win, run a generator to sell electricity and charge for burning the drugs…

  6. Wasn’t it the French anti-corruption unit in the Quai d’Orfevres who got caught selling on the seized drugs?

  7. Matt: the problem with legalization is whether the politicians can keep it simple and cheap enough (after all those taxes) that people will buy the legal stuff rather than continuing to buy the illegal.

    I live in Canada. We have demonstrated that there is a ceiling price on tobacco, since we raised the price via taxes and got an enormous smuggling problem as a result. The government eventually backed down on that. Now we’ve legalized cannabis and still have pot dealers because the legal stuff is expensive and a pain to get.

    Interestingly booze doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem. Possibly because it’s legal to make your own beer and wine (up to the point where you would have to sell because you couldn’t drink that much and still make it) and distilling comes with a certain amount of danger.

  8. @M

    I refuse to believe that any government could run a legalised drugs operation that the cartels could not compete out of existence

    Cartels are pure capitalism and ruthlessly efficient, and if they aren’t the next one will be after a brief takeover by someone more ruthless

  9. The way they run their speed traps and pocket the dosh, I reckon the Vlaams Politie could give the cartels a good run

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