Details emerge in busted Amsterdam assassination attempts
Amsterdam police say they foiled at least two assassination attempts in recent weeks and arrested several suspects who still remain in custody.
The report reads like an action flick with machine gun toting criminals, trying to get away from police in fast car chases.
The first arrest was made on Sunday February 1 at Knokkestraat in Amsterdam Nieuw West. Four heavily armed criminals in the ages of 20 and 21 were driving around in two private cars when police intercepted them. During the car chase the men crashed through a pergola.
When the officers searched the cars, they found several other automatic weapons, including a pistol machinegun and ammunition.
One of the men had been shot by police, as when police units cornered their cars, he brazenly stepped out with a machinegun in hand. He was transported to the hospital.
Another tried to flee, but he was arrested after a short foot chase. A police dog mauled his leg in the process. The two others were also arrested.
Police explained the operation arrest was the result of a targeted investigation by the major crimes department that is supervised by a Public Prosecutor. The officers had received tips that that shooters were planning an assassination of someone and that they would be driving a stolen BMW. The cars the officers stopped at Knokkestraat matched the description.
The vehicles had been fitted with false license plates; noteworthy, police say is that while the cars had diesel engines, officers also found a jerrycan with gasoline inside one of them. “This anchors the suspicion that they had been on their way to commit a serious crime, after which they would burn the cars,” police say.
Despite their young ages, the suspects in this case are all known felons; two of them had been released from police custody as recent as January 30. They had however never been connected to a major crime. Until last week Thursday the four were not allowed to have contact with anyone else then their lawyers.
The investigation is also focusing on whether the men had also been involved other crimes, unbeknownst to authorities. The guns that have been confiscated will be crosschecked against other criminal activity.
Police say they have arrested other people in recent weeks that were carrying ready-to-use guns. These people were all intending to carry out assassinations, so their arrests meant that these killings have been prevented.
“These gun finds and arrests fit in the policy of the Amsterdam triangle to not only investigate, but also detect and prevent crime,” said Amsterdam police Operations Director Hanneke Enkelmans. “The focus initially was on tracking and prosecuting criminals. We have booked good results, but we see that it does not automatically bring an end to the violence. That is why last year in the Amsterdam triangle we decided that aside from detection we would also focus on prevention and disturbance of the activities of major criminals. We are seeing an increase in the use of automatic weapons and that is very alarming.”
Amsterdam Prosecutor Jeroen van Berkel said that it is likely that his office will be demanding an unconditional jail sentence for the suspects.