What is the risk if I take drugs abroad with me?

You can be fined or imprisoned if you take drugs abroad with you. Border controls are very strict. Drug use and possession are punished very severely in other countries.

Punishments for smuggling and possessing drugs abroad

Taking drugs out of the Netherlands is always a punishable offence and the punishments are very severe. Here are some examples:

  • in Venezuela, you can get 15 years in prison for carrying 800 grams of heroin;
  • in the UK, you can get seven years in prison for carrying 619 grams of cocaine;
  • in Romania, you can get 17 years in prison for carrying 2,900 ecstasy pills.

Poor conditions in foreign prisons

Foreign courts rarely take account of mitigating circumstances and only look at the facts: what drugs someone was carrying, in what quantities and how they smuggled them. Conditions are often worse in foreign prisons than in Dutch prisons. There may be up to 35 prisoners sleeping in one small cell, and there is a lot of violence.

It is not always possible to serve your sentence in the Netherlands

If you are arrested abroad, the Dutch government cannot get you released as you fall under the jurisdiction of the country in which you have been arrested. That means it is also not always possible to serve your sentence in the Netherlands. You should never take packages abroad for someone else or drive someone else's car across the border.

Truck drivers and drugs smuggling

Truck drivers can become involved in drugs smuggling without their knowledge, as they do not know what their loads contain. It is especially important with international transport that drivers know what they are carrying. Here are some tips for drivers:

  • check the details of new clients or delivery addresses, for example through the Chamber of Commerce;
  • ask a new client for references and a Certificate of Conduct for a legal person (VOG RP);
  • always ask for written confirmation of an assignment. Never take on assignments by telephone;
  • ask clients for a copy of their identity documents;
  • always use consignment notes;
  • check that the transport documents clearly describe the load;
  • never take on extra loads from unknown persons en route.