Special Dutch police team to hunt fugitive Italian mafia members

Members of a Dutch police SWAT team (Stock Photo: Politie). (Members of a Dutch police SWAT team (Stock Photo: Politie))

The National Police is establishing a team especially for hunting fugitive members of the Italian mafia, AD reports. This team is in response to criticism from Italy that the Netherlands does not do enough to search for mafia members, allowing mafia leaders to live carefree lives in our country, according to the newspaper.

The Italian mafia is permanently based in the Netherlands and mainly engages in drug trafficking, according to the newspaper. Mafia experts also warn that the mafia is penetrating into sectors of the Dutch economy. 

An investigation in 2015 showed, for example, that a mafia family had been active in the flower auction in Aalsmeer for many years. "There you saw the whole palette of the mafia: drug trafficking, extortion, fraud and scams", detective Wilbert Paulissen said to the newspaper. 

The police's anti-mafia team will focus on gathering information and finding members of the Italian Mafia. In exchange for helping the Italian authorities in this way, the Dutch police were given permission to question a number of mafia informers in Italy about mafia-related criminal activities in the Netherlands. "In the meantime we've been able to question one informant. That produced incredibly interesting information", Paulissen said.

The Dutch police are faced with mafia assassinations on a daily basis, Paulissen said to AD. "But we know how dangerous the Italian mafia can be. We want to know more precisely to what extent they operate here."