Lorry loads of cannabis seized at trailer park
15 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — Five lorry loads of cannabis plants were removed from a trailer park in Maastricht following a dawn raid by a huge force of officers on Thursday.
A total of 13 residents of the notorious Vinkenslag trailer park have been arrested, most in connection with the illegal blockade of the A2 motorway on Wednesday.
Police say the raid by up to 400 officers had been planned earlier to break up cannabis cultivation at the trailer park but the date of the operation was brought forward in response to the motorway protest.
Some 350 to 400 officers arrived in 40 police vehicles at 6.30am and sealed the camp from the outside world. Police officers also took up guard duty at the A2 junction on Wednesday.
The show of force by police comes a day after 80 to 100 people from the campsite caused serious disruption to traffic on Wednesday by blockading the A2 motorway nearby. Vinkenslag residents used garbage and car tyres to stop traffic getting past De Geusselt football stadium during the morning rush hour.
The residents were protesting against Maastricht Mayor Gerd Leers, who has authorised several previous raids on the campsite in the last few months to search for drugs and weapons.
Residents at the trailer park have in the past been accused of stealing electricity to power a cannabis cultivation operation. A previous police raid at Vinkenslag led to the discovery and destruction of dozens of cannabis plants.
The traffic information service VID estimates that Wednesday’s motorway blockade cost motorists and companies at least EUR 200,000 in lost revenues. Mayor Leer has called on people and businesses in Maastricht to join the City Council in legal action to recoup the losses from Vinkenslag.
Earlier this year it emerged Vinkenslag residents have paid only 3 percent income tax in recent years. The tax office, or Belastingdienst, had a secret policy of collecting no or minimal tax from individuals and groups considered to be troublemakers.
Tax Minister Joop Wijn said in March he was considering setting up a special tax squad – consisting of tax specialists, the police and municipal and utility officials – to tackle the problem.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news