German customs seize 1,580 pounds of cocaine from Caribbean

Customs officials in the German port of Hamburg say they have seized 717 kilograms (1,580 pounds) of cocaine, which they estimate would have produced drugs with a street value of 145 million euros ($156 million).

The head of the Hamburg customs investigation office, Rene Matschke, said Friday that the cocaine — the largest single seizure of the drug in Germany to date — had a very high degree of purity, news agency dpa reported. It was seized on Jan. 18 after it was found in a shipping container from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.

Matschke said that an international gang was behind the cocaine shipment and that there was a hostage-taking linked to the drugs in the Netherlands on Monday.