A huge drug operation between the Netherlands and Australia was uncovered earlier this month, yielding thousands of kilos worth of Ecstasy pill making materials. 850 kilograms of MDMA powder and 550 liters of MDMA oil were seized in the raid, which is enough raw material to produce some 15 million pills (street value: $300 million AUSD).
The investigation was launched in January of the year as Dutch and Australian police collaborated after receiving a tip on the two country’s drug production line. Over the subsequent months, Dutch police followed the local manufacturing organization throughout the Netherlands and Belgium. In the two countries, the drug ring was said to utilize several buildings for storing chemicals, as well as manufacturing drugs and storing drugs.
Earlier this month, simultaneous raids in Raamsdonksveer, Bergen op Zoom, Hoogeloon and Opglabeek in Belgium (amongst others) occurred bringing about 8 arrests, 5 in Europe and 3 in Australia. The raid yielded 43,000 liters of chemicals, 150 kilograms of MDMA, 1 kilogram of methamphetamine, 3 kilograms of cocaine, and 2 guns. Another raid in Rotterdam this August yielded 700 kilograms en route to Australia.
Australia is a vital market for the Dutch synthetic drug manufacturing industry, which provides huge profits. In the Netherlands, an ecstasy pill costs 10 cents to make, while it sells in Australia for nearly 20 Euro. The operation, deemed Operation Parazonium, is part of a wider cooperation between law enforcement in the two countries. “We are now going to share information with each other in advance, for example about key figures, possible smuggling routes, henchmen and money flows”, head of national investigation in the Netherlands Andy Kraag, told NOS.