Seventy arrested in Dutch “mobile banditry” sting operation

Europol building in The Hague
Europol building in The HagueOSeveno / Wikimedia Commons

Dutch police arrested 70 people last week in a cooperative effort to tackle those suspected of mobile banditry, a catch-all term for people who travel around to engage in criminal acts like theft, burglary, fraud, identity fraud, and drug trafficking. The suspects in these cases often work across international borders, requiring assistance from policing agencies like Europol, Interpol, and other national police forces.

Police personnel from these agencies helped staff an international desk at Europol headquarters in Den Haag. “Here, the countries involved were able to exchange data directly with each other for the purpose of the campaign,” Dutch police said.

Police said 33 people were arrested directly in connection with the international operation, and another 37 were linked to the operation after they were picked up as suspects in other crimes. 

Among the 70 arrested were four Georgian men held for breaking into an automatic roulette machine at a Holland Casino in Venlo so they could rig it it to make illicit payouts. The four were remanded into custody on Friday, and will remain in jail for at least two weeks while the investigation into their case continues.

Police in Amsterdam searched a car and its occupants during the sting operation, and found a passenger holding 10 thousand euros in cash, and a large bag filled with coins. This prompted police to hold their suspects on suspicion of money laundering.

An armed robbery suspect and a fugitive were also caught. In one case a driver was stopped with 26 thousand euros in outstanding fines. His vehicle was seized when he was unable to pay the bill on the spot.

Convicted offenders whose crimes are linked to mobile banditry face stiffer penalties in the Netherlands. Non-Dutch people convicted under the applicable law are more likely to be declared “undesirable” by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, which can then lead to deportation and a future entry ban.