Dutch police arrest 17 after finding country's 'largest ever' cocaine lab

Police discovered discovered 100 kilograms of crack cocaine and tens of thousands of litres of chemicals.
Police discovered discovered 100 kilograms of crack cocaine and tens of thousands of litres of chemicals. Copyright Courtesy of Politie Landelijke Eenheid
By Euronews with AP
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Investigators estimate the drugs found have a street value of between €4.5 million and €6 million.


Dutch police have dismantled what they described as the Netherlands' "largest cocaine laboratory ever".

The discovery was made during raids at a converted riding school in Nijeveen, 120 kilometres northeast of Amsterdam.

Police confirmed in a statement that they discovered tens of thousands of litres of chemicals and 100 kilograms of crack cocaine.

The so-called "drug laundry" - where police say smuggled drugs were "washed" out of clothes - was found in the sleeping quarters and recreation rooms.

Police arrested sixteen suspects at the scene, including the owner of the site.

Raids were also carried out on sheds in Elshout and Apeldoorn, where authorities found 120,000 kilos of "carrier material". Another suspect was also detained.

"Given the number of people working there, the installation, the size, the layout, and the equipment, we estimate the production capacity at 150 to 200 kilos of cocaine per day," said André van Rijn, chief inspector of National Dismantling Support Facility (LFO).

"This number of kilos equals a street value of between €4.5 million and €6 million unadulterated."

Police video from the scene shows equipment and supplies, including plastic barrels, vats of chemicals, and a row of five red cement mixers.

After the raids, the LFO took three days to carefully stop the chemical process and dispose of the material.

The National Investigation Service in the Netherlands is continuing the investigation and police are not ruling out further arrests.

Police said that 13 of the suspects in custody are Colombian nationals and one other suspect has dual Dutch and Colombian nationality.

Three others detained on suspicion of producing drugs are Dutch and another suspect is Turkish.

They are due to appear before an investigating magistrate on Wednesday and Thursday.

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