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Infamous Dutch cocaine trafficker begins 15-year jail sentence

One of the Netherlands’ most notorious cocaine traffickers started a 15-year jail sentence on Tuesday, and may very well be dealing with as much as 12 years extra subsequent month – because the Dutch authorities’ crackdown on drug gangs continues following the capturing useless of a lawyer in 2019 and a journalist final 12 months.

A court docket in Rotterdam heard how “Roger P” had constructed his enterprise by contacts with a Colombian cartel, and since then “had a day job” managing his organisation, recruiting co-investors, and in search of out corrupt contacts in personal corporations and public establishments.

In a written verdict, judges within the case mentioned “P” – higher identified by his personal alias of “Piet Costa” – imported his medicine from Colombia by Rotterdam and Antwerp, a route recognized by Europol final 12 months as having overtaken the beforehand most popular southern route by Spain.

Alongside Costa, who was convicted of importing cocaine, cash laundering, and participation in a legal organisation, six others have been sentenced to between three and eight years in jail. Two males have been acquitted.

Costa was arrested in mid-2020 following a four-year undercover investigation right into a cargo of greater than 3,700kg of cocaine that was intercepted in Rotterdam in 2016.

Having led what the judges mentioned was “a life of luxury” by “staying under the radar”, he was recognized when a Franco-Dutch police operation hacked into the messaging service, EncroChat – primarily utilized by organised criminals and now defunct.

Dutch police chief Janine van den Berg gleefully described the outcomes of the hack on the time as “like sitting at a table where the criminals are chatting among themselves”.

In his EncroChat messages, Costa talked freely about smuggling giant portions of medication – and even connected pictures of a number of blocks of cocaine.

During the court docket case his attorneys challenged using the EncroChat information in proof, claiming it was obtained illegally. The judges, nevertheless, dominated that it was acceptable.

In a separate case, prosecutors have requested for a 12-year sentence for Costa in reference to the invention of seven transport containers transformed into cells and torture chambers, found between Rotterdam and Antwerp close to the Belgian border in 2020.

That discovery of the “underworld prison”, which drew worldwide consideration, was additionally linked to the EncroChat hack.

The containers had been soundproofed and detectives found police clothes, bulletproof vests, balaclavas, scalpels and pruning shears. In one, there was a dentist’s chair with straps and handcuffs.

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