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Courthouse in Amsterdam: security precautions before the verdict is announced

Photo: Robin Utrecht / EPA

In the mammoth trial against a notorious Dutch “Mocro Mafia,” the court sentenced the three main defendants to life imprisonment.

On Tuesday, the judges also handed down the maximum sentence for several murders to the gang's alleged boss, Ridouan Taghi.

Overall, the penalties are somewhat lower than the prosecution had demanded.

She had demanded life imprisonment for a total of six of the defendants, but the court only sentenced the three main defendants accordingly.

The remaining 14 defendants were sentenced to long prison sentences.

The judges announced the verdicts in the high-security court in Amsterdam, accompanied by the strictest security measures.

The 46-year-old Taghi, who comes from Morocco, is considered the head of one of the largest cocaine trafficking rings in the Netherlands.

Until his arrest in Dubai in 2019, he was considered the most wanted criminal in the Netherlands.

He is said to have continued to run his cartel from prison.

“Well-oiled killing machine”

According to the public prosecutor's office, the gang formed a "well-oiled killing machine."

At almost six years, this was the most extensive and spectacular murder trial in the country's history.

It is also directly related to the brutal murder of crime reporter Peter R. de Vries in 2021 - but the verdict is not due to be announced until the summer.

In this trial, 17 members of the so-called Mocro Mafia were accused, the name refers to the Moroccan-style serious crime in the Netherlands.

They were accused of, among other things, six contract killings and four attempted murders from 2015 to 2017.

The defendants remained largely silent during the trial.

It is certain that they will appeal the verdicts.

The focus of the prosecution was the testimony of a key witness.

Nabil B., formerly an accomplice of Taghi, testified in 2017 in exchange for a reduced sentence.

He has now been sentenced to ten years in prison.

However, his statement led to an unprecedented wave of organized crime violence.

The key witness's brother, his lawyer and also his confidant, the prominent crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, were murdered.

These murders are the subject of separate proceedings.