Ten employees working at Schiphol are suspected of involvement in a large-scale drug smuggling. That reports the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee on Tuesday. A total of thirteen people are suspected of money laundering and/or smuggling hard drugs, seven of whom have also been arrested in recent weeks. The Marechaussee could not say how many of the seven arrested are employed at Schiphol. The six suspects who were not arrested have been interrogated by the authorities.
The group has been linked to a discovery of 321 kilograms of cocaine on a plane from Ecuador, which was intercepted in May. The drugs had a street value of $16 million. The suspect personnel work for a company at Schiphol and are therefore in possession of a special employee card. The Marechaussee does not want to reveal which company is involved.
The suspects came into the picture thanks to various investigative methods, after a tip from the Public Prosecution Service. A special investigative team intercepted telephones and deciphered encrypted data. This investigation also led to the interception of the aircraft. The investigative team consists of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD) and Customs.
This case is exceptional, says a spokesman for the Marechaussee. According to him, it happens “several times a year” that an employee at Schiphol “turns out to be involved in criminal activities”. “But in this case it involves a lot of employees, and also a large batch of drugs. A street value of 16 million euros in one plane is something we don’t often see at Schiphol.” The Marechaussee does not rule out the possibility that more arrests will follow.