Authorities in Dubai have extradited a man described as one of the most wanted criminals in the Netherlands, Dutch media have reported.
Ridouan Taghi, the alleged head of a cocaine-trafficking gang known as Angels of Death, arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday morning, national broadcaster NOS reported.
Authorities in Dubai had asked Dutch police to collect him, which was done with a chartered flight, NOS reported, despite the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) not having an extradition treaty.
Taghi was arrested after a joint operation that involved local police, Dutch authorities and the Interpol, the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Monday.
Moroccan-born Taghi, 41, was wanted on international arrest warrants for murder and drug trafficking. The organisation he allegedly runs was linked to nine assassinations and a number of failed murder attempts, according to Dutch media.
WAM said an arrest warrant had been issued for Taghi last year after he allegedly entered the UAE using a fake identity.
“After receiving a request from the authorities, a team from the Dubai Police carried out an investigation and arrested Tagh[i] from his accommodation in Dubai,” WAM’s report said.
Dutch police chief Erik Akerboom said Taghi’s arrest was of “great importance for the Netherlands” and followed cooperation between the two countries.
Taghi hit the headlines in September when a Dutch lawyer for a state witness in a case against him was shot dead near his home in Amsterdam.
The killing of lawyer Derk Wiersum, a father of two, increased pressure mounted on Dutch authorities to act. Police in the Netherlands had offered a reward of 100,000 euros ($111,500) for information leading to Taghi’s arrest.
Wiersum was the lawyer for a state witness named Nabil B in a huge case against Taghi and another suspect wanted on similar charges, Said Razzouki.
At the time, one of the main Dutch police unions said that the lawyer’s shooting was “confirmation that we live in a narco-state”.