Source AP ©

Dutch authorities carry out largest drugs bust in Netherlands' history

Dutch authorities carried out the largest synthetic drugs bust in Netherlands' history, seizing 2.5 million Ecstasy tablets and enough raw materials to make 8 million more.

In addition to the 210 kilograms (463 pounds) of materials for making Ecstasy, authorities also found 270 kilograms (595 pounds) of speed and 210 kilograms (463 pounds) of hashish in a warehouse in an industrial park in the southern city of Veldhoven.

"The drugs were packed in buckets and wooden crates," the national prosecutor's office said in a statement, estimating the total value of the haul at "several tens of millions of euros."

No suspects has been arrested yet, spokeswoman Desiree Leppens said. She said the raid was carried out Tuesday and "the investigation is ongoing."

The drugs were destroyed after several samples were taken as evidence.

The Netherlands is widely believed to be the world's largest exporter of Ecstasy, though in recent years production has been moving abroad, where the sales of raw materials needed to make the drug are less carefully monitored.

On a recent visit, U.S. anti-drug czar John Walters praised the Dutch government for its efforts to combat the Ecstasy trade, saying a recent drop in supply in the U.S. was "directly the result of cooperation with Dutch law enforcement."

According to prosecutors' data, the cost of pills on the street here can be EUR3.50 (US$4.50) or less, compared with EUR9-15 (US$11-19) in other parts of Europe and as much as EUR30 (US$38) in the United States and Japan.

At the upper range of prosecutors' estimates, Dutch producers may make 200 million pills annually, with just 2 million of those for domestic consumption. The country has a population of around 16 million.

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