Twenty-two detained in Dutch-German heroin trafficking ring
Dutch and German investigators conducted a drug raid Tuesday morning, confiscating 50 kilos of heroine.
THE HAGUE—Around 6 am Tuesday morning police in The Hague and in various German cities conducted raids on thirty homes of suspects involved in drug trafficking between the two countries. Police confiscated 50 kilos of heroine, 10 kilos of cutting agents, 28,500 euros in cash, 50 stolen mobile phones, and diverse products involved in drug packaging.
Twenty-two suspects are being held, eight from The Hague, and fourteen from Germany. The raid is the culmination of a yearlong joint investigation involving 24 Dutch and German investigators and 300 police officers from both countries. It is the first investigation of its kind in the Netherlands.
The Hague police were tipped-off a year ago by German colleagues who were detaining a drug courier. The courier informed police of regular heroine shipments from The Hague to Germany.
The Hague Police Corps, the Public Prosecutors Office (Openbaar Ministerie), and the Federal German Police (BKA) then decided to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to uncover the ring. JIT is a new form of international cooperation in which two or more countries work closely together in a team to combat organised and transnational crime.
The team exchanged information continually throughout the year, traveling between countries and holding monthly meetings.
Police intercepted seven more couriers in the course of the investigation, from whom investigators were able to gather more information leading to the raid. Several kilos of heroine were confiscated on six of these occasions.
Two of the couriers have since been sentenced by a German court to jail terms of four years, three months, and three years, six months, respectively.
Eight households in The Hague, and twenty-two in German cities were searched during the raid. The Dutch suspects range in age from 30-58, and the Germans from 16 to 49.
Dutch investigators report being satisfied with the process of working with German colleagues, and learning from their judicial system. For example, they learned that each German state has its own judicial and police system.
The JIT team was formed out of a European Union goal to strengthen international cooperation between police corps, and is the result of laws making it possible for countries to work together to combat crime. The teams are an important tool in combating the traffic in human beings, drug trafficking, and in the counterfeiting of the euro.
Radio Netherlands/AFP/Lila Lundquist/Expatica