Netherlands pushes another €110 million into fight against drug crime

Ferdinand Grapperhaus
Ferdinand Grapperhaus (front, left) at the International Missions Remembrance Medal during the World Forum in The Hague. Nov. 1, 2018 Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The government is allocating another 110 million euros for the fight against organized undermining crime, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security announced on Monday morning. This amount will partly be used to form teams specialized in dismantling criminal networks, and partly to protect professional groups that deal with drug criminals, reports.

The so-called intervention teams will consist of specialists from various departments of the police, the Tax Authority's investigative department FIOD, the intelligence services, and the Koninklijke Marechaussee - a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military. An important part of these teams is making sure that information can be shared quickly and efficiently between all parties within the teams.

Part of the money will also go towards surveillance and protection for professional groups that are involved in the fight against drug criminals. These include judges, lawyers, journalists, politicians and Public Prosecutors.

Finally, campaigns will be launched to keep young people out of drug crime and to discourage drug use. 

Organized crime has "crossed a new line" with the murder of defense attorney Derk Wiersum, Grapperhaus said.

The 44-year-old father of two was shot dead while with his wife outside their Amsterdam home on September 18h. The authorities believe that Wiersum was killed because he was representing Nabil B., a crime suspect turned informant. Over the past year, B. gave testimony against the drug-centered criminal organization allegedly run by Ridouan Taghi. The key witness linked Taghi and his gang to at least nine separate assassinations, and a number of failed murder attempts. 

A recent study by trade journal Advocatenblad showed that nearly 60 percent of defense lawyers feel more unsafe in their work since Wiersum's murder. 

This extra investment comes on top of a previously announced commitment to push 100 million euros per year into fighting organized crime. The government also announced new legislation to help in this fight.