On Monday morning 21st of January 2018, the district court in Münster saw the appearance of two members of a gang accused of international hard-drug trafficking.
The two Dutchmen played different roles within the criminal group: 29-year-old Frank. L. was a high-ranking member, while 25-year-old Lukas R. from the Dutch city of Goor was responsible for crossing the border into Germany and sending the parcels from the Ahauser post office for modest sums of tens of euros per delivery. More precisely, €10 for a small box and €50 euros for larger ones where they’d negotiate conditions.
Lukas R. would cross the border into Germany and send the vacuum-sealed narcotics nationally or internationally from Ahauser post offices in order to better evade police controls. Until just a couple of months ago, the gang sold marijuana and hashish but also harder drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines for an estimated total of €400,000.
One of these couriers was Lukas R. from the Dutch city of Goor. Even before the trial began, Lukas arranged his full admission of guilt with his lawyer. He read his statement with trembling hands and voice, saying that he received the “job” offer in March 2018 in a coffee shop in Enschede. Furthermore, he declared that he never checked the packages:
“I was unemployed for a short time, and I was convinced that it was just hashish and marijuana,” said the 25-year-old.
However, most orders contained MDMA and amphetamines. The prosecutor remained skeptical:
“Have you never been suspicious? Marijuana packages of that weight would have been many times bigger.”
Lukas R. denied. Although he admitted to smoking marijuana on a regular basis, he had never dealt with such amounts. In addition, he pointed out that he had demonstrably rejected a €1500 offer for smuggling cocaine:
“I would never do that.” There was a clear moral limit for Lukas.
For the proven eight journeys from Enschede to Ahaus and Nordhorn, the 25-year-old could go to jail for up to four years. Another gang trafficker was sentenced by the same court in August of 2018 to imprisonment for three years and nine months.
On the other hand, higher-ranking 29-year-old Frank. L. was more discrete in his declarations. Also because Lukas R. has incriminated him multiple times before the judge:
“Most of the supplies I received personally from him,” says Lukas R.
To make things worse, the detectives found the key of the drug stash on Frank L., confirming the testimony of Lukas R. At the end of the hearing on Monday, the court announced:
“If the defendant (Lukas R.) engages in a detailed confession, the maximum sentence for imprisonment is eight years and six months. The lower limit is eight years.”
Implying that the accused could alleviate his sentence by giving a full confession. Moreso, the maximum punishment isn’t fixed yet as the case is still pending in await of capturing the gang leader who is still at large. Thus, also implying that if the defendant chooses to hinder the investigation, he could face more than eight years and six months of incarceration.
Lukas, however, gave signals of wanting to fully cooperate with the authorities, taking into consideration past private meetings with the judge and prosecution.
“We want to formulate it together and bring it to the next meeting,” said the lawyer of Frank L.
The trial before the district court has assumed considerable proportions, involving many individuals, some of them still uncaptured such as the ringleader of the group. Such a large trial has also created substantial bureaucracy. The prosecutor needed 50 minutes just to read the 1200-page indictment at the start of the hearing. Process still in course.