Dutch police find cannabis plants hidden among crops
About EUR 10 million worth of cannabis plants were found hidden among maize crops in 94 different locations.The Hague – Dutch police on Thursday arrested two people after finding illegal cannabis plants with a street value of EUR 10 million hidden among maize crops, a statement said.
"All the plants were seized and destroyed" in searches of the southern Limburg provinces in the past week, a police statement said.
Since August, the police have discovered 45,000 cannabis plants growing in 94 different locations.
De Volkskrant published a photo of a police helicopter hovering high above a sea of green crops consisting of corn and cannabis.
The paper reports that "illegal growers are becoming ever more inventive in camouflaging their plants".
The discoveries have sparked wider fears about the "criminalisation of rural areas". The paper suspects farmers are also more likely to be persuaded to give over some of their land to growing illicit crops due to the economic crisis.
The paper talks to the police, who explain how the situation can escalate from relatively innocent beginnings.
"At first, the criminals tell the farmers that the plants will only be there for six weeks. But once they've got their foot in the door, they keep coming back and the farmers never get rid of them ... Blackmail and intimidation are all part of the game," said the police.
Two Dutch citizens were arrested for alleged illegal cannabis cultivation.
The Netherlands decriminalised the consumption and possession of under five grammes of cannabis in 1976, though its cultivation remains illegal.
Radio Netherlands / AFP / Expatica