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Dutch police dismantle Netherlands’ largest cocaine lab in a former riding school

Dutch police have discovered what they say is the biggest cocaine laboratory ever found in the Netherlands, hidden in a former riding school. 

Officials dismantled the lab and arrested at least 17 people from Colombia, Turkey, and the Netherlands on Friday.   

Police said in a statement Tuesday that they discovered tens of thousands of liters of chemicals and 220 pounds of crack cocaine when they raided the riding school last week. 

They also found sleeping quarters for staff in the building in Nijeveen, 75 miles northeast of Amsterdam.

Andre van Rijn, chief inspector at the police organization that dismantles such production facilities, said the lab was equipped to produce 150-200 kilograms (330-440 pounds) of cocaine a day, with a street value of 4.5-8 million euros.

The estimate was based on ‘the number of people who worked there, the installation, the size, the layout and the equipment’, according to Mr van Rijn.  

Police video showed equipment and supplies including plastic barrels and vats of chemicals and a row of five red cement mixers that were used to extract cocaine from products like clothing that are impregnated with the drug before being exported to the Netherlands.

Police said that the majority of the suspects in custody are Colombian passport holders and one suspect has dual Dutch and Colombian nationality. 

They are due to appear before an investigating magistrate on Wednesday and Thursday. 

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