Dutch and Australian police have smashed a major drugs gang in a 10 month investigation which they say has prevented 15 million ecstasy pills making it to Australia.
In total, 11 people have been charged in connection with the Operation Parazonium probe, which started 10 months ago and ended in raids at 15 locations in the Netherlands and Belgium earlier this month.
During those raids, police found drugs labs and 50 tonnes of chemicals which could be used to make some 15 million ecstasy pills, Dutch police said in a statement. The police have issued footage showing officers with chain saws raiding a lab which had been hidden in a hay barn.
Eight Dutch people were among the 11 arrested, including a a 58-year-old man from Brabant who was picked up in Belgium and, according to the Telegraaf, is the ringleader. He was identified by the paper as trailer camp resident Paulus B. His son, Adriaan, aged 37-year-old, was arrested in the Netherlands.
‘The trade is enormously lucrative,’ Dutch chief detective Andy Kraag told the Telegraaf. ‘The raw materials to make the drugs are exported from China to the Netherlands, turned into pills and then exported again.’ Pills which cost a couple of euros in the Netherlands cost €20 in Australia, the paper said.
The raids on November 5 were sparked by the seizure of 700 kilos of pure MDMA at Rotterdam port in August, following a tip off by the AFP, according to the Dutch police.
‘I wish to thank our Dutch counterparts for their expert involvement in this investigation and strong support of our efforts to keep these drugs off Australian shores,’ Australian police chief Reece Kershaw said in a statement.