ROTTERDAM–A corrupt Customs officer working at the Rotterdam harbour was sentenced on Tuesday to 14 years in prison for clearing containers which contained cocaine from South America. Gerrit G. earned millions with his side-business, money that he spent on, amongst other things, luxurious vacations in Curaçao.
The proceeds of the corrupt handlings of the 56-year-old Customs officer were estimated at 3.5 million euros, and possibly much more, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office which had demanded a maximum jail term of 16 years.
The suspect, who worked at the pre-arrival department, in 2014 and 2015 prevented the regular control of at least two containers that contained a total of 3,400 kilos cocaine by giving the green light. The Court suspected that this was just the tip of the iceberg and that in reality G. had allowed more cocaine transports to pass through the Rotterdam harbour.
According to the Court, G. was “merely led by the big money.” The Judge said G. not only damaged to the harbour’s image, but through his actions large amounts of hard drugs entered the Netherlands. “It was his task as Customs officer to protect the borders and it is ironically sad that instead he violated that security.”
The suspect received a 7.5 per cent share of the value of the coke transports. He lived in great luxury: authorities found a shopping bag in his home containing 1.1 million euros, he often flew business class to Curaçao where he also bought a US $200,000 yacht. To cover up his illegal activities, he set up a store for used consumer goods.
There were three other suspects in this case. Suspect Dennis van den B. was sentenced to ten years in prison for the import of large batches of cocaine from South-America, bribing the Customs officer G., money laundering, threatening and illegal weapon possession.
Two other suspects, René F. and André van der H. were sentenced to four and three years respectively for bribing the Customs officer. They were acquitted of the import of cocaine charges.