“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

Europol states in a report that Mexican drug cartels may have had involvement in the smuggling and production of the drug crystal meth in the Netherlands. Field research by journalist Arthur Debruyne does not show this. ‘In no file does this emerge,’ he tells Crimesite.


Europol and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released the results of a joint investigation in early December. This looked at the extent to which Mexican drug cartels use Europe as a transit port, or production location, for methamphetamine, also known as “crystal meth.


The report states that in 2019, Dutch police seized 1.9 tons of methamphetamine from Mexico in Rotterdam. Two other cases also involved Mexican involvement in importing the illegal drug.

In the same year, police dismantled three meth labs in our country, arresting Mexican suspects. Europol and the DEA claim that Mexican cartels also played a role here.


Belgian journalist Arthur Debruyne has been investigating the trafficking and production of crystal meth from Mexico and by Mexican cooks in the Netherlands for some time. Among other things, he looked – for a book to be published – at the role of the Mexican ‘Pablo Icobar’ arrested in the Netherlands. He would have been the coordinator of some labs in our country. Debruyne also interviewed some of the cooks from the Moerdijk ‘drug boat’ in 2019.

Debruyne is critical of the Europol/DEA report. The researcher to Crimesite: ‘No link to a large drug cartel has been substantiated in any file. Justice and police officers confirm this to me. It is more about crystal meth cooks, who are used as disposable workers here. The mention in the DEA’s report of involvement with cartels is also with quite a few beats.’

According to Debruyne, it is more about occasional networks formed with local drug organizations, rather than the Mexicans wanting to take over the market here. ‘You can also wonder what the exact definition of “cartel” is,’ the journalist said. ‘In Mexico, the Sinaloa cartel has long been splintered into a lot of clans, families and a multitude of independent narcos who cooperate with each other when it suits them. Also, you don’t have initiation rituals there like in the Italian mafia, making it sometimes difficult to speak of membership.’


The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction EMCDDA is also cautious in a 2022 report. ‘Despite recent developments, there is no indication that Mexican cartels are stocking camp in the EU with the intention of competing for control of drug markets.’

Crimesite previously discovered that the suspect nicknamed “Pablo Icecobar,” whose real name is Pavel N., had previously been convicted in the U.S. of trafficking crystal meth. In the US, Mexican cartels do have plenty of involvement in importing cocaine and crystal meth, according to the DEA.

Crime Site