Amid the beauty and tranquility of the Netherlands, an undercurrent of crime and drug trafficking is threatening to destabilize the country's social fabric.
According to Dutch public prosecutor Peter Huttenhuis, this dangerous situation is mainly due to the widespread influence of Albanian drug clans that have deeply infiltrated social systems.
The threat of Albanian drug cartels
Huttenhuis discovered that behind the rampant deals in cocaine and marijuana, there is a large drug cartel run mainly by Albanians.
These criminals often resort to fraudulent means, using fake Italian or Greek identification documents to obtain residence permits, thus making detection and prosecution more challenging.
This revelation came as a result of Basalt's investigation, which has since provided the police with vital leads to take further action against the cartel.
In pursuing this criminal network, the police have adopted a strategy similar to the domino effect.
The success of an investigation leads to new leads, further revealing the intricate web of criminal activities.
This approach has been useful in combating the vast and complex operations of drug cartels.
Explosive attacks and gang wars
Security circles in the Netherlands are increasingly alarmed by an increase in explosive attacks within the drug community.
In the first six months alone, more than 300 home attacks have been reported, often involving firebombs and explosives.
These violent disputes, particularly prevalent in Rotterdam, are largely attributed to criminal clans with links to gangs in Morocco and Albania.
Rotterdam: An important center for drug transactions
The port of Rotterdam, the largest in Europe, has become an important center for drug transactions. The country has been identified by the EU Drug Monitoring Center (EMCDDA) as a critical point of cocaine import into Europe, along with Spain and Belgium.
Highlighting the scale of the problem was the record seizure of eight tonnes of cocaine from Ecuador in Rotterdam.
The high profit margin for cocaine, with a kilogram costing around €2,000 in Latin America and resold for over €30,000 in Europe, underlines the lucrative nature of the drug trade.
The deadly lengths criminals are willing to go to protect their interests was shockingly illustrated by the murder of Dutch crime journalist Peter de Vries in July 2021.
The killing was linked to a trial against suspected drug lord Ridouan Taghi, with de Vries serving as counsel to the key witness.