Prosecutor donates seized drug trafficking boat to Rotterdam school
The Public Prosecutor donated a boat seized in a money laundering and drug trafficking investigation to the Scheepvaart en Transport College in Rotterdam. Usually seized goods are sold through the Ministry of Finance's department Domeinen, and proceeds go toward the Dutch treasury. The Public Prosecutor is now experimenting with putting some seized items back into society, the Prosecutor said in a statement.
"Taking away money or other possessions hits criminals where it hurts. By giving the seized items a new social destination, we make it literally visible in society", Marc van Nimwegen, chief prosecutor in Rotterdam, said in a statement. "It is a positive outreach to the community and a clear signal that criminals with their money and expensive possessions are not invincible. It makes clear that crime does not pay and that society gets better through fighting crime: That orange ship belonged to criminals in drug trafficking, now its used to train young people for an honest job."
Inspiration for this new way of dealing with seized items, came from Italy. The Prosecutor learned from colleagues in Italy that seized goods can sometimes cleverly be returned to society, according to NOS. It makes the authorities' crime fighting efforts visible, and it's annoying for criminals when suddenly kids are getting swimming lessons in their villa's pool. Or when the proceeds of their vineyards go to farmers who work the land.
In this way, the Public Prosecutor also prevents criminals buying their seized items back through Domeinen. And by more often donating seized items back to social organizations and citizens, the Prosecutor hopes to get regular citizens more involved in crime fighting, according to NOS. The authorities need more insight into what criminals do and how they spend their money. The Judiciary believes that they can involve citizens more in these investigations if they get something in return.
This particular boat was specifically designed for Arctic polar expeditions, according to the Prosecutor. The Rotterdam college will use the boat to train students, and will share the use of the boat with the university research community for Arctic Research. This community showed interest in the boat for researching climate change and the Arctic ecosystems in the North Pole.