Netherlands: Ridouan Taghi, baron of the “Mocro Maffia” drug cartel, sentenced to life in prison

Ridouan Taghi, formidable trafficker at the head of the “Mocro Maffia” drug cartel, was sentenced on Tuesday February 27 in Amsterdam to a life sentence for a series of murders committed between 2015 and 2017, the courts announced , in a large-scale trial nicknamed “Marengo”.

A police officer stands guard in front of the ultra-secure court in Amsterdam where the trial of the “Mocro Mafia”, a dangerous drug cartel in the Netherlands, ended on February 27, 2024. AP - Peter Dejong

By: RFI Follow


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A “ 

well-oiled killing machine

 ”: this is how the drug cartel known as “Mocro Maffia” in the Netherlands was described during the trial which ended on February 27.

At its head: Ridouan Taghi, 46 years old.

He and his 16 co-defendants were on trial for six murders and four attempted murders in a large-scale trial nicknamed “Marengo”.

The verdict was delivered almost six years after the start of this trial, in a highly secure court, commonly known as “The Bunker”, on the outskirts of Amsterdam.


We condemn all suspects.

Ridouan Taghi gets life in prison

 ,” said the judge, who was not identified for security reasons.

The other 16 suspects received sentences ranging from life to one year and nine months in prison.

Born in Morocco and raised in the Netherlands, Ridouan Taghi is considered the mastermind of an international organized crime organization, whose roots are partly in the Benelux:

the “Mocro Maffia”

, so named because of its Moroccan origins. of several of its members.

The term actually refers to a group of criminal groups considered to be one of the largest distributors of cocaine in the Netherlands.

Also read: The Netherlands in the grip of the cocaine war

New outbreak of violence between 2018 and 2021

Ridouan Taghi was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2019. Although incarcerated in a super-secure Dutch prison, he continued to run his gang from the inside by passing messages to his accomplices on the outside .

Due to its scale, this trial was unprecedented in the Netherlands.

The army was mobilized to secure the area around the court during the hearings, to which prosecutors and judges traveled in armored cars.

The crimes were carried out between 2015 and 2017, mainly targeting individuals suspected of having become police informants.

The murder in 2017 in Utrecht of a certain Hakim Changachi is considered by the prosecution to be an error.

Shortly after, one of the alleged gang members, identified as “Nabil B.”, went to the police and agreed to become a prosecution witness.   

A new wave of violence followed with murders that shocked the country.

Three people from Nabil B.'s entourage were killed: his brother in 2018, his lawyer Derk Wiersum in 2019, and

a renowned journalist, Peter R. de Vries, considered his confidant

, in 2021.

Ridouan Taghi has always denied the accusations, saying that the money spent on this “

sham trial

 ” should instead have been invested in education, the police and health, reported the newspaper

Het Parool


None of the suspects made a statement during the trial, which was slowed down by several twists and turns.

Then lawyer for the main suspect, Inez Weski was arrested in April 2023 on suspicion of helping her client communicate with the outside world.

New lawyers subsequently appointed resigned, saying they had not had enough time to prepare.

Ridouan Taghi then decided to ensure his own defense.


and with AFP



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