The National Criminal Investigation Department has arrested six men for smuggling heroin from Asia to England, via the Netherlands, and laundering tens of millions of euros. The investigation started with information in encrypted chats from the Sky ECC platform.
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The suspects were arrested on Tuesday morning by the Special Interventions Service (DSI). Searches were also carried out in Amersfoort, Hooglanderveen, Purmerend, Hoorn, Zaandam, Amsterdam and Halfweg.
During the searches, a firearm and ammunition were found, objects related to drug processing and large amounts of money in cash and crypto currency. A Range Rover was also seized, as were three homes in Vleuten, Amersfoort and Hooglanderveen.
In 2022, the National Criminal Investigation Department started the investigation based on information originating, among other things, from the encrypted communication platform Sky ECC. This revealed that an international criminal group was smuggling the drugs. The suspects were involved in importing almost 8,000 kilos of cocaine to the Netherlands from the port of Antwerp.
Stashes were used for this purpose, where heroin and hash had previously been seized during a search in Zaandam. The police also became aware of several drug transports of cocaine and heroin to the United Kingdom. The heroin user market in England is much larger than in the Netherlands. The Netherlands therefore functions as a transit country. For example, dozens of kilos of cocaine, heroin and ketamine were regularly transported to England. With English wholesale prices, a single transport can easily earn between 1.5 and 2 million euros, the police reported in a message on Friday.
It is suspected that the suspects have also illegally transported tens of millions of euros in cash via the Canary Islands, among other places. That money was partly laundered through the purchase of gold.
The six arrested suspects are men aged 27 to 40. They were brought before the examining magistrate in Den Bosch on Friday. They are still in custody, police said.