The cabinet has set aside an extra €110m to combat organised crime, some of which will be used to set up a special anti-drugs unit, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus confirmed on Monday.
The cash comes on top of an earlier €100m to head off criminal interference in local government and €291m to strengthen the police force across the board.
The minister first said the Netherlands will get a new ‘narco brigade’, similar to America’s Drug Enforcement Administration, in September. The news came in the wake of the murder of laywer Derk Wiersum who was defending a crown witness in a complicated drugs and murder trial and was himself shot dead.
The new unit will involve the police, tax ministry inspectors and the military police. ‘It will focus on exposing and tackling criminal company processes, crime bosses and their networks,’ the minister said in a statement.
The minister hopes the plan will be completed in spring 2020 and that the unit will make society better able to resist the ‘poison’ of the criminal drugs industry, criminal money, intimidation and murder.
This February an influential police union labeled the Netherlands a narco state and at the end of August, a new report commissioned by Amsterdam’s mayor said that the city is unable to tackle drugs-related criminal activity.
Behind the scenes, the report said, the big drugs bosses have no trouble amassing large fortunes in what the Telegraaf called ‘a golden age for the Amsterdam drugs criminals’.