A 61 year-old man has been held on suspicion of running the lab
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, police that had discovered a ‘strange substance’ in a barn just outside of Leeuwarden confirmed on Monday that the substance was indeed Methamphetamine. The barn appeared to be a functioning meth lab, and a 61-year old man was arrested at the scene.
The old out building sits on the Canterlandseweg, which runs between Gytsjerk and Miedum on the way into the city of Leeuwarden from the North. Police and fire fighters massed at the location on Sunday night, before the ‘Landelijk Faciliteit Ontmanteling’ service came to deconstruct the lab on Monday.
In the lab, investigators found various precursor chemicals to methamphetamine: “after several tips we found a completely set up drugs lab that wasn’t in current use on Sunday”, says Ernest Zinsmeijer of the Frisian police, “the 61-year old man we arrested is currently without an address, and we expect to make more arrests shortly.”
It’s not the first drugs lab found in Friesland recently, either: “we have seen a large growth in discoveries not only in Friesland, but across the Netherlands”, says Zinsmeijer. “The growth in discoveries in the last year is generally due to the hacking of the Encrochat system [used by criminals across Europe]. From information from this we’ve been able to roll up several labs. But we’re also seeing more labs move to the North, because there are lots of places that seem a bit hidden away.”
The police, then, generally find it difficult to uncover these labs in out-of-the-way locations. “We can’t do it alone”, says Zinsmeijer, “so we are asking local people to report anything. Information can always help; for example lots and lots of vans and cars arriving, but also if there’s a foul chemical smell in the air then we’d like to know!”
In 2016 a meth lab was found in Wânswert (Gemeente Noardeast-Fryslân), and in 2017 one was uncovered in Haulerwijk (Gemeente Oostellingwerf). The Netherlands is often seen as the hard-drugs capital of Europe, with the Port of Rotterdam often signaled as the main smuggling hub of the continent.