Suspect's Mistress Was Sarin Target

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A mistress of one of the four suspects arrested in Limburg on Saturday for possession of a prohibited substance would have been the target of an attack with the nerve gas Sarin. The Mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes, Chief Justice Roger Bos and the police chief of the unit Limburg, Gerry Veldhuis, gave this information on Monday about the recent investigations at the Bodemsweg in the outskirts of the Maastricht district Amby.


The suspects, two men and two women, aged between 21 and 52, were detained after a tip from the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIE) that one of the suspects was offering a dangerous substance, possibly Sarin, for sale. The police began a major investigation in which the suspect was constantly followed.

Together with a companion, the suspect went on Saturday to a rural area in the Maastricht district of Amby, where they began to dig. Thereupon the duo, a man and a woman, were arrested. Moments later, another couple was held in Heerlen.

"Those who were digging are probably not the buyers," said the chief of the Maastricht police  Veldhuis. "But on the roles of the suspects, I will not go into," Veldhuis added.

Nothing Found

The police meanwhile raided three places (in Heerlen and Kerkrade). At least one computer was seized but no nerve gas found was found in any of the suspects' houses.

Recently the police have been looking in the area in Amby for the dangerous nerve gas Sarin, but have found nothing yet.

One of the two women arrested was brought on Monday to the rural area in Maastricht to provide details to the investigators. The investigation may still take days, according to De Telegraaf.


All four suspects will stand before court on Tuesday. The examining judge will then decide whether there are sufficient grounds to continue holding the two men and two women in arrest. The four were arrested on Saturday under suspicion of "possession of and buying prohibited substance."

One of the accused men recently threatened to harm his mistress because she was continuously harassing his wife. He will probably be accused for attempted murder .

The police suspect the four offered the Sarin for sale. There is no reason to think that terrorism has anything to do with this case. The motive is most probably "financial gain." According to the police, the four are not part of a larger group. One of the men has already been in contact with the police for a violent offense.

Sarin: colorless, odorless and tasteless

Sarin was originally developed as a pesticide. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the gas can paralyze the nervous system. By inhalation of large amounts of sarin, the muscles around the lungs are paralyzed, causing victims to drown in their own mucus.

Even a small amount of the odorless, colorless and tasteless Sarin can be fatal. Even if a victim survives exposure to sarin, the nerve gas can cause permanent damage to the lungs, eyes or the nervous system.

Sarin was first made ​​by Nazi scientists in the 1930's. Sarin is 500 times stronger than cyanide, which the Nazis used in gas chambers to kill millions of people. Sarin was never used on the battlefields during WWII. Both the Germans and the Allies possessed Sarin, making sure both sides would not use it.

The most notorious attack with Sarin took place in March 1988 in the north of Iraq. In the village of Halabja, 5,000 Kurds died when the Iraqi army attacked them with Sarin, mustard gas and possibly VX nerve gas. The attack injured 65,000 Kurds. The former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein began production of Sarin in 1984. In 1995, the government acknowledged that it had produced 790 tons of the dangerous chemical.

Also, a Sarin attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995 claimed lives. There were twelve people killed and 5,000 people injured. The Japanese sect Aum claimed responsibility for the attack.