The Public Prosecution Service (OM) announced on 21 November that it would award the highest reward ever for the tip leading to the arrest of Ridouan Taghi. The same applies to Saïd R., his alleged right hand. Why is Taghi priority number one for justice?
It starts on 23 March with the announcement that the Public Prosecution has concluded a deal with a crown witness. It concerns the 31-year-old Nabil B., who has been detained on suspicion of involvement in the Hakim Changachi fumigation in January of that year since September 2017.
The crown witness has made several statements about liquidations, attempts at murder and preparations for this often committed in Amsterdam and Utrecht. He calls Taghi and R. as clients.
The police picks up and three days later both men are put on the National Search list with then a reward of 25,000 euros the man. Spokesman for the national unit of the police, Thomas Aling, appears on March 27 in the Investigative Investigation program and explains why this was decided.
"You have to imagine: those leaders are ruthless and a human life is nothing at all", says Aling in the broadcast. "For nothing, the people are shot on the street just to say the same."
Presenter Anniko van Santen addresses the viewers and rightly remarks: "You have probably never heard of them before." That does not only apply to the public.
Name Taghi falls for the first time in criminal investigation from 2015
Because who is Taghi? The 41-year-old man has no criminal record according to his lawyer Inez Weski. He was born in Vianen, but has not been registered in the Netherlands since 2009. The police say they strongly take into account that he uses multiple identities. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is probably abroad.
His name is only mentioned in June 2015 for the first time in a criminal investigation with the name 26Koper. His lawyer Inez Weski points out that he has never been officially designated as a suspect in this. He was indeed not included in the research.
26Copper is about a group of eight men who are soon labeled as 'an agency of the underworld'. This is in any case the firm conviction of the Public Prosecution Service. Liquidations on order, fast cars that are always ready and no lack of weapons. This was already apparent from the discovery of a weapons arsenal in Nieuwegein in the summer of 2015.
A part of the arsenal of weapons that was found in a shed in Nieuwegein (ANP).
Taghi was a big unknown to the police
The link between Taghi and the so-called murder command is laid by Ebrahim B. The witness makes various statements about this to the police.
The agents react somewhat surprised. Ridouan Taghi? It is a name they do not know, also confirms crime reporter John van den Heuvel of De Telegraaf . He wrote an article about it in 2016 with his colleague Mick van Wely. "This name was new to our crime journalists too, apparently moving through the lines."
During the interrogation the verbalizers ask what witness B. can tell about Taghi. The witness calls him a drug dealer who collects his cocaine via Panama and ships the drugs via Morocco to Europe. To guard this position, he does not hesitate to kill. Neither is it about family members.
As an example, B. mentions a murder in 2013 in Spain. The victim is the brother-in-law of Taghi, who was shot dead by him after a conflict about drugs.
"After inquiring Dutch investigators with their colleagues in Spain, a Dutchman appears to have been shot in 2013," according to crime reporter Jan Meeus of NRC . "There was also a family connection with Taghi, according to a criminal file, which concerned the husband of his wife's sister."
But Taghi is not 'taken away' in the research. The court also holds the view that there is no concrete evidence for the preparation of liquidations by the suspects. They are sentenced to relatively low sentences because the murder plans can not be proven.
Taghi made grateful use of smuggler grandpa
What can be said about these statements with the knowledge of today? According to Meeus, Taghi had indeed already acquired his position in the drug trade at the time. He did this by making grateful use of the smuggling lines of his grandfather, a trader in hashish.
These lines run from Morocco to Europe. Taghi takes over after the death of his grandfather. The hash is exchanged for cocaine. "A drug with which roughly ten times could be earned", emphasizes Meeus, who is working on his book The Schiedam cocaine nebula that will appear next year.
With speedboats the drugs are transported from the coast of Morocco to Spain and there are transported further inland by smugglers. "My conclusion is that he (Taghi red.) Has always been left out of the picture because he has earned a lot of money in a short time."
"But before he was mentioned in that research in 26Koper in 2015, hardly anyone at the police had any idea who this man is."
Nabil B. stands up as a crown witness
How different is that in the beginning of 2018. Barely six days after the announcement of the crown test deal with Nabil B., his brother Reduan B. is shot dead in his company in Amsterdam.
The completely innocent man is shot dead "on behalf of a group around Taghi", is the conclusion of the Public Prosecutor during a session in which the shooter must appear. He is silent about who his client is.
"We can say that the man was shot dead for the statements that his brother made," said the officer.
On March 29 Reduan B. was shot in Amsterdam (ANP).
See also: OM: Suspicious penal murder murder approached for more liquidations
Remorse about a homicide is a motive to go to the police
But why does the crown witness get into the police despite the threat? He had heard from Taghi that "who talks," and "that everyone goes to sleep around them". It has everything to do with the Changchis murder on the night of January 12, 2017 in Utrecht.
Nabil B. was unintentionally involved in this. He says that he was instructed by Taghi to murder Khalid H., but he appears to live in the same flat as the final victim.
When Nabil B. is told that Changachi has been killed and a day later on the news sees the burnt out Audi he has arranged as a race car, he realizes that there has been a person change.
Nabil B. is friends with the infamous Changachi family and they too know quickly about his involvement. He goes against the assignment of Taghi, who wants someone else to be appointed as the client, and confess everything. Out of remorse he goes to the police.
Explanations of the crown witness supported with PGP messages
It is not only the statements of Nabil B. that point to Taghi. His testimony is supported by so-called PGP messages (Pretty Good Privacy messages). This encrypted communication has been in the hands of the judiciary since 2016.
Two years ago, the Ennetcom server in Canada was cracked. Ennetcom is a supplier of encrypted phones that many criminals have used.
They felt uneasy, but their communication was stored on the Ennetcom server. After the cracking of this, it can be seen by the judiciary. A year later the same thing happens with the server of PGP-safe in Costa Rica.
More and more clear about the group around Taghi
It is the same PGP messages and statements that paint a picture of the organization that Taghi has built around him, which, according to the OM, deals with liquidations.
This becomes particularly clear at the session of 28 November in the extra-secure court the Justice Complex Schiphol. That day five new suspects are on the court's role in the investigation called Marengo. A sixth suspect will have to appear at the next session.
All of them are suspected of being involved in the Changachi crime scene, the attempt at the actual target H. two days later and a liquidation in IJsselstein in 2016.
Alleged liquidation group is complimented with hard work
During the session, the Public Prosecutor said that Taghi was also seen as the sponsor of the murder in IJsselstein. PGP messages sent by 'pat' - an abbreviation of patron (Spanish for boss) - are attributed to him.
One of the alleged spotters, who keeps an eye on the victim, gets the following message from one of Taghi's brothers: "Just get through of 'pat' for those of IJssel will you also be well rewarded anyway ", reads the officer for. "Pat said even if you do it in broad daylight, you are all well rewarded."
"You deserve it, you show more than any other guys I've ever done," the message continues. "You have balls and know what you are doing and are well attuned to each other, which I like, that is work."
See also: Wanted Ridouan Taghi also suspected of being ordered to liquidate in IJsselstein
Murder of justice officer Koos Plooij discussed
The ease with which liquidations are spoken, creates anxiety. It means that case officers prefer not to be called by name, let alone come into the picture.
A fear that is now well-founded. According to NRC again from PGP reports that Taghi discusses the murder of the renowned prosecutor Koos Plooij. The alleged recipient is Richard R., who is known as 'Rico de Chilean'.
R. was arrested in October 2017 and is now suspected of being involved in several liquidations. The Public Prosecution has suspected a collaboration between these two men for some time.
See also: 'Ridouan Taghi and' Rico de Chilean 'discussed murder of officer Koos Plooij'
Also named Taghi brother as part of criminal organization
In this way, the contours of an organization, in which the brothers of Taghi also play a role, become more and more visible. They have been detained for a long time in Morocco on suspicion of involvement in a sanctuary in Marrakesh. The actual target of the liquidation was Mustapha El F., a rival of Ridouan Taghi.
"You increasingly see the structures of this group," Van den Heuvel agrees. "An organization suspected of at least twenty liquidations, and all those murders have meant that the man has received more and more enemies who are hunting him."
Lawyer criticizes OM's conduct
Weski's lawyer has been denouncing the OM's actions for some time now. "I still have not received a file with suspicions," she told NU.nl in previous discussions. "In fact, the client outside the court is already tried publicly."
But according to Weski, he will not report himself. "Would you put yourself in such a wasp's nest?"