Over 250 tonnes of illegal fireworks seized from Germany

Photo by Europol

Fireworks found after investigations led to the discovery of a bunker complex on the German-Dutch border  

Authorities have arrested two suspects in the Netherlands, in connection with over 250 tonnes of illegal fireworks, uncovered on the German-Dutch border. The investigations were supported by Europol and had been jointly organized by the German Regional Police (Landespolizei Osnabrück), the Dutch National Police (Politie) and the Dutch Prosecution Office of Amsterdam (Functioneel Parket).  

According to a statement issued by Europol on Tuesday, December 20, “The year-long investigation exposed a Dutch criminal network illegally trading with dangerous, highly explosive fireworks”. It added, “The suspects involved in this illegal scheme attempted to circumvent the strict regulations for the sale of fireworks by hiding behind the facade of legal company, registered for the sale of authorized fireworks”.

Europol said that the trade of fireworks is very highly regulated due its the dangerous aspect of the merchandise. But the free sale of heavy fireworks is strictly forbidden. This is due to the reason that the heaviest categories of fireworks, such as the ones seized, are often used by criminal networks to perpetrate violence. They are also used to facilitate criminal activities such as attacks on ATMs, the statement added.

The criminal network was exposed after investigations began on the basis of an anonymous tip. Aside from this, intelligence from other investigations into the trafficking of illegal fireworks was also used, the statement said. 

Europol also said, another investigation in November by a dedicated task force set up by the EU law enforcement agency uncovered 350 tonnes of illegal fireworks. The fireworks seized had an estimated commercial value of €25 million.

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