Mail order drugs giving Netherlands a bad name: Police, Prosecutor

The trade in hard drugs by mail is growing and is giving the Netherlands a bad reputation abroad, the police and Public Prosecution Service (OM) said to newspaper NRC. Every month, Dutch dealers send an estimated 9 thousand postal parcels containing drugs abroad. The Dutch authorities are getting increasing complaints from international colleagues, they said to the newspaper. 

The police and OM have received complaints from police officers, prosecutors, customs, and government agencies in Germany, France, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the United States, Australia, and multiple Asian countries, Neeltje Keeris, who is in charge of the synthetic drugs portfolio at the National Prosecutor’s Office, said to the newspaper. According to Keeris, her foreign colleagues say: “Your mess is reaching our people, we really need it to stop.”

Since last year, the police received 120 requests from abroad to provide information on packages sent from the Netherlands. This involved packages containing drugs ranging from a few grams of cocaine to 25 kilograms of ecstasy. Ecstasy and speed are particularly popular in this type of trade, but crystal meth is also gaining ground, Keeris said to the newspaper.

These mail order drugs are putting pressure on cooperation between the Dutch police and OM and their colleagues abroad, according to Keeris and Jelmer Ludwig of the police’s National Unit. According to them, the Dutch authorities are often told to “wait a minute” or “solve the drug problem first” when asking for legal assistance abroad. 

According to the authorities, these mail-order dealers are often young, highly educated men, with no criminal records. They feel safe in online marketplaces on the dark web and send “kilos” of drugs, according to the newspaper. They don’t realize that they are international drug traffickers, Keeris said. They think they can get off with a warning or community service,” she said, adding that that is an illusion. Last year a 23-year-old student was sentenced to five years in prison for posting at least 70 packages of drugs, mainly to Australia.

The police and OM call for an identification requirement to be implemented when sending packages abroad. This will make it easier to track down the sender when foreign authorities contact them for information, and thereby also raise the threshold for sending drugs.