Ten private residences and premises were raided in Gronau, Germany on Friday 1st of February 2019 as apart of a German-Dutch operation. The joint task force executed ten arrest warrants and successfully apprehended twelve suspects, four under European Arrest Warrants.
Law enforcement has been tracking the group since 2018. They’d send hard drugs from the Netherlands to Germany through the post office. A total of 13 members are accused in this case, twelve of them arrested on Friday.
“According to the investigation so far, three main suspects arrested today are said to have organized the order and shipping. The accused are a 31-year-old Afghan citizen living in Enschede, his 27-year-old brother resident in Gronau, and a 33-year-old Dutchman from Enschede,” according to a press release from the Dutch Customs.
The starting point of the investigation was the case-related information obtained by the Nordhorn Customs. The illegal mailing of drugs from the deep web has been a well-known practice on the Dutch border for years.
The close cooperation between the two countries has led to the alleged perpetrator group. Already during the covert phase of the very intensive investigations, drug shipments in letters and parcels for recipients worldwide were captured. Including nearly 25 kilograms of amphetamine, 1.6 kilograms of pure MDMA, 1.1 kilograms of ecstasy tablets, 170 grams of cocaine, and 145 grams of heroin with a total street sale value of more than €400,000. To capture the group, a joint investigation team between Dutch and German authorities was founded.
“According to the findings so far, the authorities assume that the drugs ordered in the Darknet were ordered online, paid in cryptocurrency and packaged by other suspects, either in the Netherlands or in Germany, at the command of the main defendants. The alleged gang supposedly used apartments rented for this purpose in its storage and packaging activities in the Twente region of the Netherlands and the Borken district in Germany,” Customs officials declared.
The modus operandi of the group consisted of daily journies across the German border from the Netherlands and then expedited nationally or internationally. Ready-packed and frank stamped, the parcels were sent from postal offices alongside the German border from Bad Bentheim to the northern Ruhr area.
More interesting, is the transport vehicle seized by the task force. The car was designed to fill every spare space with drugs. Furthermore, the searches on Friday also found numerous written documents, computers, and mobile phones.
The operation has involved German and Dutch prosecutors, German customs investigators, FIOD (Dutch Investigative Service), EUROJUST, and EUROPOL. The accusation of gang-related international drug trafficking is very severe in both countries. However, Germany has slightly more lax laws than the Netherlands. If found guilty, they face up to ten years in prison.