Results 2017: Significant increase in anonymous tips regarding hard drugs production and trade

In 2017, Meld Misdaad Anoniem (M.) received a record number of 4,019 tips (+20%) regarding hard drugs. Over the past few years, the number of tips regarding the production of and trade in harddrugs has increased continuously and consistently. Thanks to these tips, last year large quantities of cocaine were intercepted, drug labs were dismantled and street trade was tackled. In addition, the number of tips regarding financial-economical offenses and football violence increased in 2017. In total, anonymous tipsters passed on 16.918 tips.

Tips regarding harddrugs are diverse in nature: ranging from storage of raw materials to the production of synthetical drugs. From large-scale drug smuggling to street trade. In November, an anonymous tip lead Tilburg Police to 3,200 litres of raw materials for the production of drugs, sufficient for approximately 1.5 million xtc-pills. The drums containing the materials were stored in a residential area and were, according to Police, ‘extremely flammable, poisonous and explosive’. In addition, thanks to M.-tips, drug labs were exposed in Etten-Leur, Bergen op Zoom and Haulerwijk in Friesland.

Thanks to a tip to M., in April Customs officers found 65 kilos of cocaine in a vehicle belonging to a cheese vendor. The drugs were hidden in a secret compartment. This find had a street value of 1.5 million euros. In addition, large quantities of cocaine were tracked down in Rotterdam harbour. In June, an anonymous tip lead Police to forty kilos of cocaine, fifty kilos of hemp and a large quantity of cash. In December a batch of one hundred kilos of cocaine was intercepted. Smaller scale drug dealers were also arrested. For example, valuable tips lead to arrests in Amstelveen, Weert, Zoetermeer, Geertruidenberg and Woerden.

Dark web
M. receive an increasing number of tips regarding drug deals via the dark web. For example, M.tips lead to a joint investigation by Dutch and German investigation services. In December this resulted in four arrests in Haaksbergen and Bad Bentheim in Germany. One of the Dutch suspects supposedly traded in drugs via the dark web, which was then paid for in bitcoins. These were laundered in the United States and Germany through car trade. Twenty expensive passenger cars were confiscated, as well as dozens of designer watches and bitcoin accounts in various countries.

Criminal assets
Many forms of criminality go hand in hand with financial-economical offenses. The number of tips regarding these offenses increased last year by 17% to 616. In particular, tips on money laundering (182 tips, +24%) and criminal assets (240 tips, +17%) increased significantly. Thanks to tips to M., in 2017 criminal profits valued at at least 1.5 million euros were uncovered and fraud to the value of more than 1.8 million euros was assessed.

Tracing hooligans
The number of anonymous tips regarding football violence is remarkable. Never before was this number so high (74). A considerable part of these tips were given in response to the riots in Rotterdam-city on May 7th. After football team Feyenoord missed out on winning the national title the Police were pelted with stones, fireworks and traffic signs. More than one hundred hooligans were arrested that day. Following the broadcast of photos and video footage, tips to M. helped trace another fifty suspects.

Says Frank Paauw, Chief of Rotterdam Police: “You want to have a good time when you visit the stadium. The events that took place in Rotterdam city do not match this expectation at all. Tips confirm that supporters do not accept this violent behaviour. M. offers a perfect safety net to report on these types of topics.” The latter was also confirmed following disturbances that took place during the match between Willem II and NAC on December 8th. In this case, M.tips assisted in identifying a number of supporters who threw fireworks in the stadium. Willem II banned three supporters from the stadium for a period of 18 months.

Poisonous emissions
Over the past year, thanks to tips to M. at least 1,271 suspects were arrested and 855 crimes were solved or prevented from happening. The result of more than half of the tips is currently not yet known. During large scale investigations, the time between receiving a tip and a potential court case can accrue. At the beginning of the year, the Public Prosecution Service appealed for a fine of 1.2 million euros against an American company with 43 plants worldwide. For years, the Zoetermeer plant of the company illegally emitted the cancer causing gas ethyleenoxide into the open air. This was uncovered in 2009 thanks to a tip to Meld Misdaad Anoniem and was eventually dealt with in court. “This is a complex matter, requiring extensive research. This is why a case like this takes a lot of time.” says a spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service.

For a report on solved crimes per province, visit www.meldmisdaadanoniem.nl/category/nieuws.