The trade in illegal fireworks is increasingly resembling drug trafficking – deals are made through encrypted messaging services, runners are walking the streets not knowing whose fireworks they are delivering, and a number of players are responsible for importing tens of thousands of kilograms of heavy fireworks per year, the police and Public Prosecution Service said to newspapers AD and De Telegraaf.

According to the authorities, the sale of illegal fireworks is in the hands of at least a thousand traders and a few dozen criminal networks. Traffickers use smuggling routes and contacts from the drug trade, making violence and threats increasingly common. ”Suspects in the fireworks trade are also often involved in drug trafficking or the trade of illegal cigarettes,” prosecutor Karin Boere said to AD.

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