The Hague, Dec 17 (AFP/APP): Dutch police arrested six people in a series of raids across the country after an alleged cocaine kingpin dubbed the Netherlands’ most wanted man was held in Dubai, police said Tuesday.
Moroccan-born Ridouan Taghi, 41, who was wanted on international arrest warrants for ordering a series of murders and for drug trafficking, was held on Monday at a luxury villa in the Gulf emirate.
“Following this arrest, eight house searches were made on Monday evening and six suspects were arrested. This concerns five men and a woman between the ages of 29 and 45,” Dutch police said in a statement.
“The suspects have been arrested for money laundering, possession of weapons and possession of drugs.”
The searches were in various locations including the capital Amsterdam and the central city of Utrecht.
Dutch media said the Netherlands and Dubai had no extradition treaty but authorities in both countries were working on transferring Taghi, possibly by the end of February.
Taghi is also wanted in Morocco over a shooting at a cafe in 2017 that he allegedly masterminded, Dutch media added.
Taghi had been living in Dubai since 2016 and was arrested at a luxury villa that he rarely left, senior Dubai police official Jamal Al Jallaf told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
The suspect had been “careful, very careful”, he said, adding: “The curtains of the house were always closed, no light came out. You could not see from outside if there was someone inside.”
Taghi also attracted international attention in September when a Dutch lawyer for a state witness in major case against him was shot dead near his home in Amsterdam.
Taghi is the main suspect in a huge Dutch organised crime trial relating to what local media call the “Mocro-mafia”, which involves five murders and several attempted murders.
The Netherlands has long been known for its tolerant attitude towards marijuana but increasingly faces significant problems from drugs and the criminal underworld.
In July a Dutch court jailed another notorious gangster — Willem Holleeder, nicknamed “The Nose” — for ordering the murders of five people, including his accomplice in the 1980s kidnapping of a Heineken beer tycoon.