Information leak in Enschede quadruple murder case

Police Enschede cannabis grow shop murders
Evidence technicians comb the area around a grow shop in Enschede, where four people were shot dead. 13 Nov. 2018photo: Politie

The Rijksrecherche launched an investigation into the flow of information around the investigation into the murder of four men in Enschede last month. Over the past days many details about the murders were leaked and the Public Prosecutor is "very concerned", De Gelderlander reports.

"This is unacceptable", police chief Oscar Dros said to the newspaper. "I want to know how this information ended up on the street. I do not want to anticipate the outcome of that investigation, but I want this to stop. It affects the integrity of the criminal trial and it is painful for survivors, who hear details about the death of their loved ones in the media."

"If information is prematurely in the media, witnesses or suspects may be influenced. A pure criminal process does not take place in the media. That process should be conducted in privacy and in court", Chief Public Prosecutor John Lucas said to the newspaper. "It is important that there is an independent review of who shared this information."

The investigation will be done by the Rikskrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at government services like the police, and will focus on those involved in the investigation into the quadruple murder. The Public Prosecutor stressed that journalists will not be part of the investigation. "They have the freedom to publish information that was shared with them", the Prosecutor said. 

On November 13th four men were found murdered in a grow shop on Van Leeuwenhoekstraat in Enschede. The police previously released photos of the four victims - Tuan Nguyen, Artur Sargsyan, Mijkel Akfidan and Max Klaassen - in the hopes that the public can provide more information about their whereabouts and activities in the days leading up to their death. Nguyen and Sargsyan were previously arrested after a large amount of cannabis was found in the same building they were killed in.

The 57-year-old father and his 32-year-old son were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murders on November 26th. They are also suspected of involvement in an assault in Hengelo on November 7th. The 30-year-old son's arrest was announced a day later. 

Last week RTV Oost reported that the murders were the result of a conflict over bad cannabis cuttings, based on sources from the Twente underworld.  The suspects reportedly bought over 2 thousand cannabis cuttings from the grow shop, but it later turned out that they had received cuttings that were far less powerful than the plants they had ordered. As a result, the suspects lost tens of thousands of euros, money that they went to demand back on November 13th, the day of the murders, RTV Oost revealed. Two of the victims were in the grow shop by chance, but were murdered because there couldn't be any witnesses, the broadcaster's sources said.