The Dutch police discovered a torture chamber hidden inside one of several shipping containers in a rural area on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Six men were arrested on suspicion of planning kidnappings and hostage-taking, extortion, and participation in a criminal organization as part of the investigation, according to documents from the Dutch National Police.
An investigation led the police to a warehouse site with seven shipping containers inside. The containers were lined with soundproofing material and were equipped with cameras, the report said.
Six of the containers could be used to hold people — they had handcuffs on the floor and ceiling as well as chemical toilets.
The other had a dentist chair equipped with wrist and ankle straps.
The police found a stash of instruments including scalpels, pruning shears, saws, pliers, and tape. There were also black cotton bags that could be pulled over the head, police uniforms, and bulletproof vests.
The containers were near the small Dutch village of Wouwse Plantage, close to the Belgian border.
The police also found a shed in Rotterdam that held 53 pounds of MDMA, according to the report.
The investigation began in April, when the police began to investigate a 40-year-old man from The Hague who they suspected was involved in drug trafficking.
“He led an existence under the radar, but our financial investigation revealed that he probably used a shed in Wouwse Plantage,” the national police chief, Jannine van den Berg, said.
The police had been monitoring communications on an encrypted network called EncroChat since April, where suspects talked freely about their activities, according to a police report.
The suspects called the containers their “EBI” — a reference to the Extra Beveiligde Inrichting, a Dutch secure prison. The chats described precise kidnapping plans as well as torture, the police said.