Eight people have been arrested following what Dutch police say is one of the biggest hauls of illegal weapons they have ever made.
At least 60 pistols and revolvers, nine hand grenades, 36 automatic weapons and a large amount of ammunition as well as dozens of bullet proof vests were found hidden in two safes and storage boxes at a property in Nieuwegein last week, police said in a statement on Tuesday.
The arsenal was found during an investigation into a group of suspects who ‘appeared to be preparing to carry out one or more serious crimes’, the statement said. The army were involved in carrying out the searches and used specialised radar equipment to check for hidden weapons.
The eight men were arrested in Tiel, Wijk bij Duurstede, Utrecht and Nieuwegein. While searching the suspects’ homes and other property, police also found drugs including cocaine and ecstasy, two stolen cars, more weapons and a self-made bomb.
The public prosecution department and police say they have focused for some time on tracking down a criminal gang who have been supplying the weapons and cars used in a spate of gangland killings.
Seven of the eight men arrested have been remanded in custody in Amsterdam and are being kept in solitary confinement with access only to their lawyer.
Public prosecution department chief Herman Bolhaar, told radio show De Ochtend that the killings stem from conflicts between rival gangs.
Dutch gangs tend to focus on hashish and cocaine, Moroccans on cocaine and Turks on heroin, he said. If they cross paths, there is a ‘major use of weapons’, Bolhaar told the broadcaster.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation