Increase in anonymous tips regarding entire drug chain
Never before has the number of anonymous tips regarding illegal money flows and hard drugs been as high as in 2019, according to analysis of the annual figures for Meld Misdaad Anoniem (M.; Report Crime Anonymously). The tip line received approximately one thousand tips (+44%) on issues such as money laundering and criminal and unexplained assets. There were 4,943 tips on hard drug trade, an increase of 30%. Last year, M. forwarded a total of 16,890 tips to police and other investigative authorities.
According to Meld Misdaad Anoniem, the increase in both categories cannot be seen separately. Spokesperson Marc Janssen: “Drugs and illegal money flows are inextricably linked. Every year, billions of euros are turned over in the Dutch drug trade. This illegally acquired capital is laundered. The money partially flows back into our society, for example through the purchase of luxury goods and the investment in real estate. In this way, criminals influence the upper world. This can also been seen in reports received by M.”
A concrete example is a major investigation into money laundering and the trade and production of drugs in Leeuwarden, in which an M. tip was decisive. In June, eight arrests were made during a large-scale operation. Fourteen buildings and a number of luxury cars and boats were seized. 700.000 euros in cash were found in business premises and in homes. The Department of Justice suspects the 37-year old main suspect of – among other things – money laundering of criminally acquired assets, violating the Opium Act and leading a criminal organisation.
Drug chainM. receives tips regarding the entire drug chain, ranging from the import of cocaine via airports and seaports to the production of synthetic drugs and information on local dealers in the neighbourhood. Janssen: “The nature of the tips is very diverse, however their common denominator is that all tippers are concerned. This may be because they have information about organised crime and are very close to criminal networks. Or they report because they are worried about local drug trade in which vulnerable people are being disadvantaged.”
Thanks to anonymous tips, large batches of hard drugs were found. In December, Customs tracked down more than 500 kilos of cocaine in the port of Rotterdam. The drugs were concealed in a container with fruit pulp. M. tips also lead police to storage locations. In a warehouse in Nieuwendijk police found an unprecedented amount of drugs: 200 kilos of xtc-pills, amphetamine and MDMA. The number of reports regarding the production of synthetic drugs has been increasing for years. Over the last year, thanks to anonymous tips, drug labs were dismantled in Uitgeest, Sommelsdijk, Breda, Terschuur, Brunssum and Wijchen, amongst other locations. Furthermore, local drug dealers were tracked down thanks to anonymous tips. And in The Hague, three generations of family members were arrested for drug trafficking: a daughter, mother and grandmother.
Invisible criminalityTrends in anonymous reports are in line with the national situation, in which a shift is evident toward ‘invisible crime’ as undermining. Analysis shows that almost seventy percent of tips contain an element of undermining. Janssen: “Undermining has a major impact on society. It often involves criminal networks that do not shy away from intimidation, violence and even shootings. Tips are essential for tackling this problem. The information can be the start of an investigation, but could also be the missing puzzle piece with which a case can be solved.”
More than 2,200 arrestsFeedback from police in 2019 shows that thanks in part to M. tips, at least 2,210 arrests were made. Furthermore, police reported the seizure of at least 452,222 hemp plants. The estimated street value of this hemp is approximately 45 million euros. In addition, more than 200 firearms were taken off the streets thanks to anonymous tips.
Last year, M. tips also played a role in the conviction of perpetrators of serious crimes. For instance, a man from Duiven was sentenced on appeal to a five-year prison sentence for a violent raid on a 74-year old man in Tolkamer. A 23-year old man was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for the assault of two women on the street in Amsterdam-West and an administration office in Rijswijk received a fine for failing to report unusual transactions – a so-called WWFT-report. (Witwassen en Financieren van Terrorisme – i.e. Laundering and Financing Terrorism)
A judge sentenced a 40-year old man to four years in prison for participating and leading a criminal organisation. Thanks in part to M.-tips, police came across the man and a home in Amsterdam. Upon searching the house, police found large amounts of drugs, including thirteen kilos of cocaine, more than 20,000 xtc-pills and almost three kilos of hashish. They also found a fire arm with its associated ammunition.
On the website https://www.meldmisdaadanoniem.nl/blog/category/nieuws/ more solved cases can be found.