According to an announcement from the Dutch National Public Prosecution Service, Dutch law enforcement arrested four men for suspected drug production and darknet drug distribution. The announcement accused the men of producing, among other drugs in smaller quantities, massive amounts of ecstasy. The announcement also used a phrase uncommonly seen in similar darknet drug busts: it said the darknet vendor account had “temporarily” been suspended.
The suspects, authorities believe, had been producing and selling drugs in the darknet for at least one year. PostNL discovered a series of outbound packages of ecstasy in mid-2017 and began an investigation into the entities responsible for sending the packages. Although drugs in the mail—especially outbound mail in the Netherlands—almost always points to a drug dealer, investigators stumbled into a larger drug distribution network than they had expected.
Several Dutch law enforcement agencies worked on the case. The Dutch National Public Prosecution Service led the investigation. The National Unit of the Police worked alongside the National Public Prosecution Service. As did the Functional Prosecution Service; the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service; the Tax Authorities; the enforcement arm of PostNL; and the Ministry of Defense.
The agencies, according to the May 18 announcement, rounded up all four suspects only a few days prior to the publication of the announcement. Dutch police raided the homes of four men in Limburg while the Ministry of Defense searched additional buildings associated with the men and their drug trafficking network. The police arrested a 53-year-old, a 35-year-old, a 27-year-old, and a 24-year-old during the execution of the house searches. The Ministry of Defense, along with other specialists, located several “stash spots” where the men had hidden tens of thousands of ecstasy pills, kilograms of hashish, and “a few” kilograms of heroin and cocaine.
The drugs, authorities said, were destroyed after being tested by analysts. During the searches of the houses, hidden “spaces,” and businesses, the police also seized an unknown amount of money and so-called “goods” presumably of value (and purchased with drug money). The Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service investigated and seized an unknown amount of Bitcoin during the operation and revealed that on the day of the arrest, more than 70 people had either made purchases or contacted the vendors through their darknet market vendor account(s).
Officials pointed out that during the course of the investigation, authorities seized numerous packages of ecstasy and other illegal substances. They seemingly noticed a number of complaints on the vendor profile of the primary suspect that referenced undelivered packages. That vendor account, the police said, has been “temporarily” suspended. All four suspects faced a judge in Rotterdam on May 18. The results of the court appearance have not been made public.