Recreational drug users part of the organized crime chain: Dutch PM

The fight against organized crime is complicated, but can be won, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on the second day of the parliamentary debate on the national budget. Ferdinand Grapperhaus agreed with Rutte’s standpoint. The Security and Justice Minister from the PM’s conservative VVD party backed a call from several politicians to form a specialized unit focused solely on tackling drug crime.

The Prime Minister addressed the "horrible murder" of criminal law attorney Derk Wiersum in Amsterdam on Wednesday and stressed that everyone in the Dutch legal system must be able to do their jobs safely. He called on recreational drug users - "people who take a pill over the weekend" - to consider the fact that they are "all part of the drug chain", RTL Nieuws and NU.nl report.

The CDA, a coalition partner in the Rutte III cabinet, is among the political parties backing the idea for a specialized drug unit, broadcaster NOS reported on Thursday. And though the entire parliament supported the Prime Minster's words, there was also criticism.

PVV leader Geert Wilders wonders if the government is still in charge in the Netherlands. "Look at what happened in the capital. A murder of a lawyer, a murder of the brother of the key witness, a rocket attack on Panorama and the Nieuwe Revu, an attack on De Telegraaf, chopped off heads and grenades on the street. Is the mocro-mafia in charge?" Wilders said. "Do we have a constitutional states in the Netherlands or are we a narco state?"

Rutte pointed out that the fight against organized crime is a long one. But, he said, "we will win". He also made clear that while the Netherlands has a "Mocro Mafia problem" it is not a "Moroccan problem". In the Netherlands, "Mocro Mafia" is frequently used as a reference to the participation of some people with Moroccan heritage in organized crime.

Wilders emphasized that more police officers are needed to tackle what he called the cocaine mafia. "I am not saying that the murder could have been prevented, but could we not have done more sooner?" he said, pointing out that the police have been asking for more people for some time. "Why did we not listen to the police?"

Multiple other political parties also expressed their concerns about the increase in organized crime. But Rutte did not respond to requests to make extra money available to the police and judiciary. "You won't solve this problem with an extra pot of money", he said. Investments are already being made in the police, according to Rutte. 

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