Austria Urges The Netherlands To Shut Down Drug Laboratories
The Netherlands, according to the Austrian Interior Minister, is not doing a good enough job in the two countries cooperation in the fight against narcotics. The interior minister urges the closure of laboratories in the Netherlands that are used for the production of drugs, such as ecstasy and methamphetamine, which are then shipped to the United States and other European countries.
According to a recent report, a group of Austrian and German police investigators seized 6,000 packages and envelopes containing illicit substances. The police report stated that the total narcotics law enforcement authorities confiscated are about 170 kilograms, and all of the parcels were parts of drug deals, which were conducted on the dark web.
Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) announced the report on a conference in Vienna on May 22. According to the minister, Austrian law enforcement authorities have noticed that the trade of synthetic drugs on the darknet is growing rapidly. Sobotka added that in contrast to the open internet (or clearnet), the dark web is often used for “handling criminal activities”.
Sobotka said that most of the seized drugs originated from the Netherlands, and according to their research, most narcotics are produced in the European country and are sent to approximately 60 different countries.
“We need to improve the cooperation,” Sobotka said in a statement and explained that the matter will be discussed soon with his Dutch colleagues since it is crucial to stop the production of illicit substances.
According to Austria’s chief drug crime official, Dieter Csefan, criminal gangs are using shipping containers as drug laboratories, in which they produce, by the official’s estimates, approximately 500 kilograms of narcotics each week. The top destination for the seized drugs was the United States, followed by Austria, Csefan said.
“These (Dutch) laboratories are underground,” Csefan told the media. “Huge ship containers are being buried five to six meters in the ground in the southern Netherlands.”
Austrian criminal investigators managed to intercept illegal substances falling into the category of Class A, including cocaine and ecstasy, as well as methamphetamine, marijuana and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, which was the drug that caused the fatal overdose of the musician Prince.
Head of Austria’s Federal Criminal Police Office, Franz Lang, was critical of his Dutch colleagues, who had failed to carry out an effective investigation into drug production laboratories. According to the official, his department often sends requests to the Dutch criminal investigators, but they are not addressed immediately or not at all.
“Sometimes we have wishes for the Dutch judiciary which are not followed up on immediately, or not at all,” Lang said.
On the other hand, Lang praised the exemplary cooperation with the authorities in the Czech Republic, which also represents a huge market for drugs. Despite that the cooperation with the Czech colleagues is going really well, according to Lang, law enforcement authorities’ combat against the sale of drugs via the internet (and the dark web) is “still in its infancy”.