The court in Den Bosch has provisionally released three of the four men who were arrested after the capture of almost 7,900 kilos of cocaine in Antwerp this week without electronic supervision with an ankle bracelet, lawyers have informed Crimesite. The four were arrested on Friday, November 4 at a warehouse in Emmeloord.
The court does think that there are more than enough indications to keep the men in pre-trial detention even longer. The court also sees grounds for detaining the three men longer, such as a risk of flight. Nevertheless, the court gives more weight to the personal interests of the suspects by suspending them until the verdict. Incidentally, this has happened more often in recent years in many large cocaine cases.
The suspects are Dutch and Albanian. Cem Polat, the lawyer of the latter suspect, had argued before the court that there was no risk of flight for his client because he would be staying at a permanent address in Amsterdam and would not leave the country. The Public Prosecution Service had strongly argued for longer detention. Polat calls the court’s decision “courageous.”
The court ordered the Albanian to hand in his passport and was not allowed to leave the Netherlands.
The gigantic cocaine catch in Antwerp was made after the Belgian authorities received a tip about a transport from Ecuador. The tip also included a number of a container with bananas that was destined for a company in Beuningen. In Antwerp, the drugs were removed from the container by the authorities. There turned out to be 7,893 kilos of cocaine in the container. Subsequently, 25 grams were placed back in the container and the police mounted a GPS level beacon on the container.
On November 4, 2022, the container was collected at the Port of Amsterdam in Antwerp. When leaving the port area, the driver of the truck had evaded the mandatory scan. The truck did not drive the container to Beuningen, but to a warehouse in Emmeloord. Once he arrived there, the police entered the shed with heavy equipment and four suspects were arrested.
During the process, nothing became known about the clients for the transport, or about who owned the shipment.
The court estimates the possible role of one of the four suspects to be somewhat more serious. Therefore, he must remain in pre-trial detention. The case is not due for substantive hearing until later this year.