The Public Prosecution Service demanded a 2.5 year prison sentence and a fine against three men in the court in Zutphen on Monday on suspicion of involvement in a drug lab in Wezep in May 2023. In the empty restaurant, known as ‘t Trefpunt, methamphetamine was produced.
On May 21 this year, the fire brigade responded in the evening after a report of a possible fire on Stationsweg in Wezep. An observant local resident saw smoke coming from the ventilation duct. However, there appears to be no fire. The fire brigade found an active drug lab in the building. Two suspects were arrested on the spot by the Special Interventions Service (DSI). A third suspect fled and was later captured. Three homes were evacuated.
The Public Prosecution Service considers the involvement of the three proven. The 35-year-old suspect from Rotterdam was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and a fine of 5,000 euros. For the other two suspects, a 38-year-old from The Hague and a 33-year-old man with unknown place of residence, the officer demanded a two-year prison sentence, six months of which was conditional. If it were up to the justice system, they would each have to pay a fine of 2,500 euros.
In the vacant restaurant, which was equipped as a drug lab with boilers, centrifuges, vats and jerry cans, methamphetamine was processed and processed. In addition to the end product, according to the Public Prosecution Service, there were also enough raw materials and chemicals to start a new production process.
Two suspects initially invoked their right to remain silent. The third, the 38-year-old tenant of the property, explained his presence by saying he was there to clear the upstairs. However, forensic examination of DNA traces and information from telephones provided sufficient legal and convincing evidence to link the three suspects to the drug lab. Wrapped, full containers of take-out dishes also suggest that the three suspects were just planning to go out for Chinese food in the middle of the drug lab when the fire brigade interrupted them.
Although according to the public prosecutor there was close and conscious cooperation between suspects, she considers the 35-year-old Rotterdam resident as the coordinator. He appears to have been in trouble with the law several times for similar cases and is also being prosecuted for a large drug lab in Central Netherlands. He was released on parole.
The other two suspects have no relevant criminal record. These are factors that the public prosecutor takes into account when determining the sentence. The attitude of a suspect during the investigation can also play a role. She also looks at court decisions in similar cases, in which hefty sentences were regularly imposed.
According to the public prosecutor, the three men produced hard drugs for ‘pure financial gain’. The officer calls the fact that the drug lab was surrounded by residential buildings ‘life-threatening’. “The danger to innocent local residents is enormous.”
A cannabis nursery was found in the building on Stationsweg last year. The building was then closed for six months.
The court will make its ruling in two weeks.