Dutch police roll up hard drugs network

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Dutch police said Wednesday they had arrested a Nigerian man and two Polish women, suspected of masterminding a European network trafficking cocaine and heroin out of the Netherlands.

"The suspects, aged respectively 40, 31 and 33, were arrested in February in Rotterdam and Capelle and den IJssel (west of Rotterdam)", a spokesman for police in Rotterdam-Rijnmond, in the west of the Netherlands, told AFP. Seventeen people, mostly Polish, in charge of transferring the drugs to Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Malta and Spain were also detained. Police said most of them were being held in preventive detention.

A total of 17 kilos of cocaine and heroin was seized after an investigation carried out in cooperation with other European police forces.

The police spokesman said the gang lured Poles to the Netherlands with promises of housing and work.

"Once here they were forced to act as 'mules' and carry the drugs," he said. Other "mules" were directly recruited in the Netherlands.

Inquries have begun in the Netherlands and the countries concerned by the traffic to assess the money earned by the network.

© 2011 AFP

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