Rotterdam/ Ridderkerk – More than a hundred jerry cans with liquids suitable for the production of synthetic drugs, almost 40 firearms, including about 15 automatic ones, and bags full of ammunition. Part of the find after boarding and searches in various homes, sheds and garage boxes. All part of one study. An investigation that started with a tip about the firearms trade. Five men have been arrested.
Around noon on Tuesday, April 18, several arrest teams raided three warehouses on a business park in Ridderkerk and homes in Rotterdam, Zwijndrecht and Vlaardingen. Later that day, searches followed in two garage boxes in Ridderkerk and a house in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. Five men were arrested; a 32-year-old man from Zwijndrecht, a 57-year-old man from Vlaardingen, and a 36-year-old and 61-year-old man both from Rotterdam and a 62-year-old man from Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. The men will be brought before the examining magistrate on Friday.
Exceptional amount of weapons
After boarding, search teams searched the homes and sheds. There they found a few firearms, bags full of ammunition, ketamine and amphetamine, but above all a lot of jerry cans with liquids, (pre)precursors for the production of illegal drugs. An exceptional catch was made in two garage boxes; 36 firearms. A total of 39 firearms were found, including 20 automatic firearms. “We rarely see so many weapons in one investigation. Certainly not with weapons of this caliber. The quantity and type of weapons confirm the suspicion of large-scale trafficking in firearms by the suspects,” explains Brigit Nolden, sector head of the Regional Criminal Investigation Service.
Confidential tip as a start
The investigation started more than half a year ago with a so-called ‘TCI provision’, a tip made via the Criminal Intelligence Team (TCI). This police team is trained to work with informants and to deal confidentially with tipsters, so that they can give their information safely and protected. TCI focuses on the security of the tipster and passes on the information anonymously to the investigation team that has to work with the information.
Months of research
The tip that came in to the TCI was about trafficking in firearms. The police started an investigation into this. During that investigation, the investigative team came across information that the same suspects were also involved in drug production and trafficking. “The number of shootings and explosions is unprecedented. Research into this deserves and receives full attention,” says Nolden. “But a tip on firearms trafficking… That’s gold. By taking those guns off the street and arresting the suppliers, you can really make a difference. Prevent new shootings. That’s why detectives have bitten themselves into this case in recent months. With result.” The investigation does not stop with the arrests and searches. Nolden explains: “We seized more than a hundred data carriers during the searches. Think of telephones, laptops… They are being investigated. We also seized five cars. These will be examined for hidden spaces, among other things.”
Danger to the environment
It is not only firearms that pose a threat to society. The storage of chemical substances used in the production of banned drugs also poses great dangers to the environment. This often involves a combination of acids and highly flammable solvents. This gives risks of explosions and fire.
“Reporting helps”, Nolden wants to reiterate to everyone. “To combat the trade in arms and drugs, the help of local residents is of great importance. Local residents know their neighborhood best and are often the first to notice if something is wrong. Reporting these suspicious situations helps to keep the neighborhood safe. We can then work with this type of information and if there appear to be criminal offenses we will deal with them, as happened after this tip.”
Do you see a suspicious situation and are the suspects still around? Then call the emergency number 112. If you witnessed a suspicious situation, but it was a while ago, you can leave the tip at 0900-8844. If you prefer to share your information anonymously, you can call M. on 0800-7000. If you would like a confidential conversation with the Criminal Intelligence Team, please call 088 – 661 77 34. Would you like to know more about TCI? Watch or listen to our podcast with the team chief of the TCI Rotterdam.
Information source: Politie.nl