|Dutch authorities bust a meth lab earlier this month and arrest a Colombian, Mexican and U.S. citizen|
In February 2019, the Dutch police found 850 kgs (1,874 lbs) of crystal meth in a commercial building in Wateringen. Its street value was approximately 80 million euros. Authorities said that the crystal meth was made by “professionals” and in a “well-equipped laboratory” ran by a Mexican drug cartel.
The police arrested three people who were working inside the lab. The detainees said they were victims of human trafficking and had been forced to work there. But Dutch authorities did not believe them. “The suspects were working in the drug lab without any supervision, they had the key to the apartment they were staying in and one of them had a telephone with encryption,” court records said.
Dutch authorities are concerned about the increase in the number of meth labs in the Netherlands. Seven laboratories were dismantled in 2018, compared to nine last year. The Dutch police found five meth labs in the first five months of this year. The police suspect that some of the Dutch drug producers want to switch from ecstasy to meth with the help of Mexican drug cartels.
The discovery of crystal meth labs in the Netherlands is no longer a rare sighting. Earlier this month, police in Achter-Drempt, Gelderland, arrested three suspects: a Colombian, a Mexican and an American citizen. Crystal meth worth 10 million euros was found during the raid. And in May last year, the police also found three Mexicans on a drug boat in Moerdijk, as reported by Borderland Beat. They were sentenced by a Hague court to six years in prison this March.
The Netherlands, Attractive for Mexican Cartels
In the Netherlands, there is hardly a market for the crystal meth. In fact, most people do not know about the drug. Those who know about it first heard of it from the American TV series Breaking Bad.
Dutch authorities believe that the crystal meth produced in the Netherlands is mainly for export, and that the country is seen as a convenient distribution hub due to its good infrastructure. Crystal meth is transported to countries like Germany, Latvia, Estonia and Australia.
Moreover, Dutch authorities suspect that foreign drug producers see the Netherlands attractive as a production country: penalties for drug offenses are relatively low and criminals can easily obtain raw materials here since there is a well-established synthetic drug industry.
|Meth production inside the lab that was busted earlier this month (Source: Politie)|
Last week, detectives told De Telegraaf newspaper that they were concerned about the rapidly increasing number of “meth labs” in the Netherlands. “We have indications that Dutch drug traffickers are partnering with Mexicans and purchasing their expertise to replace ecstasy labs with laboratories producing crystal meth,” said Police Commissioner Andy Kraag, chief of the national police.
His colleague Max Daniel suspects that Mexican drug cartels are looking for new markets in Europe and see the Netherlands as a production site. “Everything is here,” says Daniel. “Good infrastructure for drug trafficking, local synthetic drug scientists who cooperate willingly when they can make more money, a mild criminal landscape and a favorable location for other European growth markets.” Profits abroad can often be tenfold.
The global trade and distribution of this drug in the Netherlands is firmly in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, notorious for their violent tactics.
Note: The sources used for this report are in Dutch and were translated into English to the best of our abilities. The original sources are linked above.