Irish gangs buying Dutch heroin face police crackdown


IRISH GANGS sourcing heroin in the Netherlands for sale in Ireland are facing a crackdown by the Dutch police’s serious crime squad over the next two years, according to police sources in The Hague.

The two-year operation will target Irish and British criminals buying huge quantities of the drug from Dutch and Turkish gangs operating in Holland who are bringing heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan into that country.

One senior source from the Dutch police’s national crime squad said the force was determined to end the use of ports such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam as drug routes.

“We have a lot of dealers here who use Holland as a central place to buy drugs to be sold in other countries,” he told The Irish Times.

Heroin from Afghanistan was being shipped by Dutch and Dutch-based Turkish gangs via Bulgaria, Romania and Germany. It was then being sold to Irish and British gangs for their domestic markets.

“The heroin path through Holland is our priority for the next two years,” said the senior Dutch police source.

The Dutch police will closely co-operate with the Garda and the UK Serious and Organised Crime Agency, via the European police intelligence agency Europol.

The heroin problem in Ireland is now worse than ever, with the numbers of addicts in treatment having surpassed 10,000 this year. The problem is no longer confined to Dublin or even major cities.

The senior Dutch officer said cocaine was also being supplied through Holland. It was being shipped from South America via the Caribbean with Spain a popular first port of call. A kilo of cocaine could be bought for as little as €700 in the Dutch Antilles, off Venezuela. The same quantity is worth €75,000 in Ireland.

The Dutch source was speaking on condition of the anonymity.

He said the Dutch were aware of a “double figures” number of Irish drug dealers operating in the Netherlands. Heroin is being imported into the Netherlands in shipments as large as 480kg, which would be valued in Ireland at €96 million.

Irish and British criminals who move to the Netherlands to source drugs can for a time “disappear” into Amsterdam society. Many adopt counter-surveillance techniques to frustrate the police.

The source said they would buy up to 120 SIM cards at a time and use each one for minutes before disposing of them in an effort to avoid being phone tapped.

Dutch criminals doing major deals with Irish and other foreign criminals often buy two pay-as-you-go phones for the purpose of organising a single shipment. The phones are used solely to dial each other and only for short periods before disposal.

“This makes it very difficult to tap those phones,” said the senior Dutch police source.