Dutch police rolled up 108 drugs labs last year, a rise of 18 on 2019, according to new police figures. They also found a further 105 places where drugs were being stored, an increase of 20 on the previous year.
In particular the increase in the number of labs used to make the highly addictive crystal meth was notable, police say. They broke up 32 meth labs last year, more than three times the 2019 total.
Labs and stashes were found across the country, from Groningen to Zeeland. But the number of rural waste dumps, dropped slightly, the figures show.
Police spokesman Max Daniel said it is impossible to say if more labs are being set up. ‘After all, we don’t know what we are missing,’ he said. ‘But we have stepped up our approach to tackling criminal infiltration, and therefore synthetic drugs, so this may have played a role.’
Daniel also told the AD that the police had expected a decline in demand for synthetic drugs, given that festivals were cancelled and clubs were closed because of coronavirus.
‘Nevertheless, production continued and prices did not fall, and that indicates that demand had not gone down either,’ he said.
Police are also turning their attention to companies which provide equipment for the labs. ‘They used to produce drugs using glass equipment which could take 50 litres,’ police spokeswoman Marloes Lippens told the paper. ‘Now we’ve found boilers which can take 2,800 litres.’
The boiler makers have all been visited by police, she said. ‘They have to know that some of them, whether they realise it or not, are supporting the drugs trade.’
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