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Police bust biggest Dutch cocaine lab, arrest 17 suspects

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Dutch police have dismantled what they describe as the biggest cocaine laboratory ever discovered in the Netherlands – hidden at a former horse riding school – and arrested a total of 17 people from Colombia, Turkey and the Netherlands.

Police said in a statement Tuesday that they discovered tens of thousands of liters of chemicals and 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of crack cocaine when they raided the riding school on Friday. They also found sleeping quarters for staff in the building in Nijeveen, 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Amsterdam.

André 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.

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 13 of the suspects in custody are Colombians and one other suspect has dual Dutch and Colombian nationality. They are due to appear before an investigating magistrate on Wednesday and Thursday.

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