The case that may come back to haunt British crime lord Robert Dawes

IT BEGAN 15 years ago on November 24, 2002, at about 5.30pm when a group of five men gathered in the darkness at the front door of the dimly lit suburban home of a Dutch school teacher.

Four of the men waiting were Dutch nationals. The fifth man who stood at the front of the house on Uranusstraat, Groningen and rang the doorbell was a British national. In his hand, the British man held a strip of thin card torn from a packet of cigarette rolling papers on which was inscribed a Spanish mobile telephone number.

Gerard Meesters, a 52-year-old benign school teacher was at home with his 21-year-old son Koen when the doorbell rang.  The Englishman asked: “Are you Mr Meesters, related to Janette?” He then began to explain that he had a message for Janette Meesters, Gerard’s sister. “It is very important you tell her to call this number,” the Englishman told him.

There was then some confusion as Gerard did not understand the man’s English very well. One of the Dutchmen impatiently pushed to the front to make the message clearer by explaining further in Dutch. “If you do not get her to call the number we will come back and it will not be to talk,” the man explained in Dutch. Gerard was shocked. His son Koen would later testify that he had never seen his father so frightened.

The group of men at the door then dissipated and walked around the corner to two waiting vehicles, one of which contained a sixth man, who was also British. The Dutchmen all got into one car and the British man joined his English colleague in a dark coloured Renault Kangoo. Police would later learn the British man who had gone to the door was a recently escaped prisoner called Daniel Sowerby and his driver was a Nottinghamshire man called Steven Barnes. Police would later learn that the two men took their orders directly from Robert Dawes, a British crime lord who was quickly building a violent criminal smuggling empire from his base on Spain’s Costa Del Sol. He was already being investigated by a large scale operation run by Nottinghamshire Police and backed by the National Crime Squad.

The car containing the Dutchmen included infamous gangster Gwenette Martha and his sidekick Etous Belsarang, head of the Amsterdam chapter of a biker group called Satudarah. Both were well known to police and to Robert Dawes, with whom they had done business. In fact Dawes continued to do business with Gwenette Martha right up until the Dutchman’s liquidation in 2014.

Four days after his scare on the doorstep, on November 28 2002, Gerard, who had left the house to stay with his son and daughter nearby, popped back to the house. He had alerted police to the threat a few days earlier and they did not know what to make of it. All Gerard knew was that his sister was in trouble in Spain but they had not spoken for several months. Just after 7pm Gerard logged into his computer. Then the doorbell went. As he opened the door a gunman rapidly fired eight shots from a handgun. Seven hit their mark. Gerard Meesters slumped in the hallway of his home. He was dead within a few minutes. Witnesses reported hearing popping sounds and seeing a black vehicle with its headlights extinguished moving off at speed nearby.

Later Daniel Sowerby would be convicted of the murder based largely on the testimony of his driver Steven Barnes. Sowerby received a life sentence and Barnes, who is now a free man in the UK, was sentenced to eight years by Dutch judges. Sowerby has consistently denied being the shooter but admitted his role in other parts of the story. The narrative everyone is agreed on is that Gerard, who was never involved in anything criminal, was shot dead because of the exploits of his wayward sister Janette and her friend, Madeleine Brussen. They became known as “Thelma and Louise” on Dutch phone taps which recorded Dawes’ associates talking about the shooting in the months afterwards and why Janette and her friend had gone on the run. It appears the gang believed that Janette and her friend had stolen part of a large consignment of cannabis, which Dawes had part ownership of. Gerard’s fate was sealed when he could not make contact with Janette and a decision was taken to end the talking and send a blood-soaked message.

For the past 15 years Koen and Annemarie Meesters have been unable to get closure on their father’s brutal murder because although the court recognised that Sowerby and Barnes were following orders given to them by the head of an organised crime group, the Dutch prosecutors felt there was not enough evidence to charge the leader of the group and the man they named in court and suspected of giving those orders; Robert Dawes.

Now, on the anniversary of Gerard Meesters’ death, his children have taken the extraordinary step of filing an official complaint naming Robert Dawes as the man who gave the orders and demanding that Dutch prosecutors look at the case again. Their hand is strengthened by a number of factors. Firstly they are being supported in their efforts by former and current Dutch police officers who handled their father’s case. There is also support from former officials in the Dutch prosecutor’s office, who believe collectively there are now enough details to put together a case against Robert Dawes. Thirdly the power which was once wielded by Dawes has diminished since he was arrested in November 2015 over a 1.3 tonnes load of cocaine shipped into Paris airport in September 2013.

The moment Dawes was led away from his Spanish villa to face extradition to France

Dawes will stand trial for that offence next year along with two footsoldiers and three members of the Camorra mafia. His incarceration has meant that the silence he could once demand from his footsoldiers and lieutenants is no longer guaranteed. It has meant that over time a clearer picture has emerged of the planning of Gerard Meesters’ murder and other crimes committed by the organised crime group led by Robert Dawes.

Dawes under surveillance in Spain in 2013

In the Dutch newspapers today Koen,36 and Annemarie,34, who I have been in regular contact with over the past four years, have spoken out about their frustration over the case and their hopes that the filing of the complaint will give the authorities no option but to review  the case again in relation to Robert Dawes.

Koen told me: “More details have emerged over time and I believe there is a case when all the parts of the jigsaw are put together.

“If it turns out there is actually too little evidence and he is acquitted, we will have to accept this. Doing nothing is not an option for us. We can not live with that. ”

Roelf Wessels, the now-retired police officer who led the investigation into Gerard’s murder has also spoken out.

He said: “There was more than a reasonable suspicion of Robert Dawes involvement at the time. Dawes should have been arrested, but to date, the Public Prosecutor has never given permission. We have arrested suspects for less. ”

Koen and Annemarie Meesters also revealed that they have had contact with the man convicted of carrying out the shooting of their father – Daniel Sowerby – visiting him in prison to try to prise information from him about how he received his orders directly from Robert Dawes. Sowerby has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and may only have a short time to live.

Robert Dawes to face French court next year over 1.3 tonnes cocaine seizure

ONE of the UK’s most powerful narco-traffickers will finally face the courtroom next year following his arrest in Spain almost two years ago.

Nottingham born Robert Dawes, 45, is charged with organising a 1.3 tonnes shipment of cocaine from Venezuela and seized in suitcases from a flight which touched down at Charles de Gaulle airport Roissy, Paris in September 2013, according to French prosecutors.

The moment Dawes was led away from his Spanish villa by Guardia Civil officers to face extradition to France

More details have also emerged about the case against the British crime lord from the French prosecutor’s indictment, including Dawes’ links to two British men arrested in Paris and to a wing of the Italian Camorra mafia.

According to French investigators, the operation against Dawes began on 8 July 2013 when information was received that a large consignment of cocaine was going to be sent from Venezuela to France via a passenger flight.  The information stated that a British organised crime group was behind the shipment.

More information came through to French investigators enabling them to tag Roissy airport about 20 miles from the centre of Paris as the destination point. On September 11 the shipment arrived in 31 suitcases belonging to “ghost” passengers. Having intercepted the shipment by stealth, French investigators then placed undercover officers via an informant into the baggage handling facility at Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

On September 16 2013 the undercover baggage handler’s phone rang. The voice was a man speaking in English calling himself “Marcus”. A meeting was arranged for that evening in Paris. Location? Under the Eiffel Tower. “Marcus”, the evidence will say turned out to be a 34-year-old Nottinghamshire born man called Nathan Wheat.

Nathan Wheat born in Mansfield in 1983 was a known associate of Robert Dawes who, like his boss, lived on Spain’s Mijas Costa. Records showed he had also visited Venezuela in April 2013. Investigators believe this would have been to oversee the logistics of the Caracas to Paris transport operation on behalf of Robert Dawes. Several Venezuelan police officers with alleged links to the Venezuelan outfit Cartel de Los Soles and a Caracas airport remit would later be arrested. At the Eiffel Tower meet, “Marcus” handed a Dutch-sourced Blackberry encrypted with PGP technology to the undercover baggage handler “Sergio” and told him this was to be the only form of communication to be used from there on. Similar Dutch-sourced Blackberry mobiles with PGP encryption would later be discovered when Guardia Civil raided Robert Dawes palatial villa

Dawes facing a Guardia Civil officer as his Mijas Costa home is raided in November 2015

in Benalmadena in November 2015. In court cases already dealt with, associates of Dawes were found to be in control of a mobile phone business registered at Companies House in the UK, selling encrypted sim cards with Blackberry phones at €2,000 a piece with branches all over the world. There was little legitimate business done by the mobile phone company. In reality, it was a cover for an encrypted network of communications designed to thwart all eavesdropping attempts by law enforcement agencies. One company director was jailed for 10 years in Portugal after being caught with a 167 kilo shipment of cocaine linked to Dawes. Another director, overseeing a cocaine shipment that went missing, was shot dead in Antwerp in 2012 leading to a wild west of tit for tat shootings in Netherlands and abroad which claimed upwards of 15 lives. Some of the victims were mistaken innocents and others were simply girlfriends or relatives of targets.

Oblivious the load had already been intercepted, Wheat then organised a meeting with “Sergio” at the Cafe Kleber in Paris. There Wheat gave the undercover baggage handler further instructions about where the shipment would be moved to and how it was to be split into four consignments. One split was just over 300 kilos which would go to representatives of the Camorra mafia gang from Naples. The Camorra shipment was allowed to travel out of the airport in a truck driven by an Italian before being stopped at the German border apparently on its way via Germany to a rendezvous in a Camorra held part of Italy. Two members of the Amato-Pagano clan linked to the Camorra, Vincenzo Aprea and Carmine Russo, both 49 years old, who had been dealing with Nathan Wheat were arrested and have been charged along with the lorry driver. Aprea is believed to be the Camorra clan’s representative in Spain.

The French authorities moved in on Nathan Wheat and his 30-year-old Nottingham colleague Kane Price. They were arrested while out shopping on the Champs Elysees. Price, who gave his occupation as a used car salesman, was bailed through lack of evidence, but after returning to the UK was then arrested handling a large amount of MDMA on behalf of a cell working for Robert Dawes. He was sentenced to three and half years following a court case at Stafford Crown Court in 2016. Wheat remains in custody in France.

Meanwhile, the Guardia Civil upped its monitoring of Dawes. Unable to break the encryption communications he was employing they resorted to tried and tested tactics used pursuing ETA terrorists. Surveillance of Dawes and his associates led investigators to a meeting at the five star Villa Magna hotel in Madrid on September 23, 2014. The meeting was between Dawes, a Columbian from the Medellin cartel and a Spanish/English interpreter. The Guardia Civil legally wired into the hotel’s CCTV and audio system to pick up the conversation and film the meeting. During the chat, Dawes revealed he could get narcotics shipments through most ports and airports in Europe through corrupt contacts. He mentioned contacts in ports such as Algeciras and Valencia in Spain, using ships from Venezuela and from Santos, Brazil, cargo planes in the Netherlands, ships from Morocco to Spain, containers in Antwerp, and shipments by commercial plane in suitcases through airports such as Brussels. Only the airport at Barajas, Madrid was impenetrable, he told the Columbians. His price was 30 per cent commission on the value of anything that went through the transport lines he controlled air, sea or land. Those networks would inevitably reveal a layer of corrupt officials within the import/export chain and law enforcement, whose loyalty Dawes had bought.

On tape Dawes was also caught boasting about the 1.3 tonnes of cocaine Paris shipment “the one that was in the news using the cases…that was mine”, he said. He appeared to be trying to convince the Medellin drug boss of his credentials. He was also caught telling the Columbian that the only way he would communicate with the Columbians would be via a Blackberry PGP encrypted mobile which he would supply to whoever he dealt with.

Robert Dawes discusses business over drinks with the Columbians at Hotel Villa Magna, Madrid

Dawes’ legal team, led by the so called “Jihadist’s Lawyer” Xavier Nogueras, are desperately trying to prevent this evidence from being included in the French court case, claiming that the material was illegally obtained. Dawes’ legal team is also interested in the use of informants in the case and in particular a reference in the case file to an infamous French drug smuggler Sofiane Hambli.

After the raid on Dawes’ Benalmadena villa on November 12 2015, the scale of his dealings has also become clearer. Documentation seized by Spain’s Guardia Civil investigators shows that the Briton had banking and telephone contacts spanning five continents in more than 50 countries including significant contacts in Afghanistan, UK, Malta, Syria, Italy, France, Netherlands, Nigeria, Finland, Somalia, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and China.

Via his legal team, Dawes – currently being held at Fresnes prison near Paris – is expected to continue to attempt to water down the evidence which mounts against him and use delaying tactics in his case.

 

Kinahan-connected gangster known as “Belly” on his way to face the music in Amsterdam

DUTCH-MOROCCAN criminal Naoufal Fassih will be stepping out onto the tarmac at a Dutch airport in the near future after a Dublin court agreed to his extradition on suspicion of a number of crimes including attempted murder.

The gang leader is facing a raft of investigations into his involvement in a string of murders and drug smuggling in the Netherlands .The sluice-gates to those investigations were opened a bit further today when a final extradition hearing in Dublin, placed him into the custody of the Dutch judiciary.

Naoufal Fassih, a significant player in the “Mocro Maffia” war currently being played out in Netherlands

 

Fassih, a key lieutenant of deceased Dutch crime boss Gwenette Martha  – murdered in Amsterdam in 2014 during gang wars over the cocaine trade – had been arrested by Garda in April last year in a property linked to the Kinahan Cartel.

Key evidence which links Fassih to the attempted liquidation of another Dutch man is expected to be provided to the courts after Blackberry phones, using PGP encryption, seized during the investigation into the shooting ,were cracked by forensic teams.

The granting of the extradition against Fassih emerged in a Dublin courtroom today  .

Death of a crime blogger

IT WAS THE DAY journalists who follow crime closely in “the flat place” feared was always close but hoped would not happen.

Martin Kok, crime blogger and owner of the popular Vlinderscrime.nl site, was brutally shot dead outside the Boccaccio club, a brothel 20 miles from Amsterdam, as he sat in his VW car around 11.30pm last night in the small surburb of Laren.

According to reports from the club owner, Martin had arrived at the club a few hours earlier with a friend who was speaking English and who had been with Kok earlier in the evening. Two hours later after leaving, Kok was ambushed in his car by a lone assassin dressed in black wearing a black balaclava. Police believe he escaped from the scene in a BMW.

Martin, 49, had moved from a life of crime at a young age, which involved convictions for extortion and a 14 year jail term for manslaughter, to become one of the most read crime bloggers in the Netherlands attracting more than a million visitors to his site every month.

A writing talent he was not, but in the two years I and other crime journalists had come to know Martin’s work, it was clear he had become a significant thorn in the side of serious organised crime figures and the authorities alike.

His website had become a dumping ground for sensitive documents from the criminal underworld and Martin pulled no punches in naming and shaming people he believed were at the top of the organised crime food chain.

Often this would lead to litigation threats from the lawyers of those named or sanctions aimed at removing sensitive documents from the site which the authorities did not wish the public to see.

martin-kok_-horenzienzwijgen
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Martin Kok shot dead aged 49

He would drive a coach horse through the established legal decree in the Netherlands that criminal suspects should not have their full faces shown in photographs or full names reported in the media. Martin would name the suspects and refuse to place the usual black band redaction for the eyes of suspects, which he viewed as an unacceptable veil of respectability and censorship.

The content on his website would more often than not lead to tensions and sometimes to death threats. In the past two years, those threats became more real when his house and car were shot up on one occasion and then earlier this year an explosive device was placed underneath his vehicle.

However, the reality of these threats did nothing to deter Martin, despite his role as a father of a three-year-old. The threats simply added fuel to his fire.

He said in July this year: “I take it as a compliment when someone puts me on a death list.”

Lunchtime on the day of his death he met with a number of the Netherlands major crime journalists from Het Parool, Panorama and other mainstream media,  to discuss ways in which they could all collaborate in a more meaningful way towards covering the current organised crime war going on in the Netherlands and further afield.

He was not everyone’s favourite and, without a doubt, some of his postings were reckless beyond belief. Some articles such as those involving significant Dutch-Moroccan crime bosses displayed a bravado bordering on suicidal. He often posted without checking basic facts and many quarters of the media believed he was a renegade to treat with extreme caution. Yet he was certainly valued at times by the crime news establishment, his material often followed up and some of those within the established crime reporting milieu could not have written their more measured and detailed pieces without the documents and contacts which Martin often provided.

How will Martin Kok’s assassination be seen in the criminal environment? There will be those that say his own recklessness killed him but really no-one knows what the motive is. He made enemies before he became a blogger and afterwards. Worryingly, there is now a clear escalation of tension and fear among those journalists who knew Martin and whose job is to write about crime in the Netherlands.

After unheeded warnings to Martin to tone things down, many feared this day was inevitable. It may be too much to hope that the reporting is not blunted by the real fear that mainstream journalists will be targeted now for exposing organised crime.

Wouter Laumans, the respected co-author of Mocro-Maffia, told me many months ago during one period when Martin Kok’s life was under threat and his website under much discussion: “What can you tell him, he knows the danger, he is from that world. No matter what anyone says to him he will carry on.”

Martin Kok desperately wanted to be perceived as a journalist with “juicy information” as he put it. But the truth was he didn’t appreciate any journalistic rulebook. His uploading of gigabytes of files on the Holleeder case which hadn’t been disclosed, was like a Wikileaks blizzard of unchecked and potentially sensitive witness information. His last message via Whatsapp last night just a few hours before he died was full of dark irony. It read simply: “A beautiful life, a journalist.” Whether or not the passage of time will place him in that category remains to be seen. His life along with his dream job ended violently. There was no beauty at the end.

Footsoldiers of crime boss jailed after police dismantle local cell

A CRIMINAL network working under the orders of organised crime boss Robert Dawes has been jailed following a joint police investigation into the large-scale movement of cocaine and amphetamines.

Dawes trusted footsoldiers, Christopher Turton and Dale Wright, were part of a Nottinghamshire cell working for the Spanish-based crime boss. Dawes, a former Sutton-in-Ashfield resident, is currently in custody in France awaiting trial for a 1.3 tonnes load of cocaine seized at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport in September 2013.

Christopher Turton (left) and Dale Wright were footsoldiers of Robert Dawes
Christopher Turton (left) and Dale Wright were footsoldiers of Robert Dawes

This week, Turton and Wright were among 13 people convicted of drugs offences and money-laundering. Turton received a 10 year sentence and Wright, previously a target of police investigating Robert Dawes, received a 6 year and 8 month sentence

Police discovered Turton, had himself been subjected to a punishment shooting after sending a courier with more than £100,000 down the M1 only to be stopped by Leicestershire police officers working on behalf of the East Midlands Serious Crime Unit (EMSOU) and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The man they stopped was Robert Durant, also of Sutton-in-Ashfield, who was couriering £100,000 to a man in Milton Keynes.

The group used Blackberry encrypted mobile phones and secret compartments in vehicles to launder cash and supply Class A and B drugs around the country, stretching from Scotland to London.

At Stafford Crown Court this week 11 men and two women were sentenced to a total of more than 40 years for the parts they played in one of the illicit operations.

Enquiries into this group began in January 2014, when Nottinghamshire Police flagged-up Christopher Turton and Dale Wright to serious and organised crime specialists at EMSOU.

According to Detective Inspector Andy Jones, of EMSOU, “This was a sophisticated and well-organised crime group which utilised encrypted mobile phones, vehicle concealments and unregulated and untraceable cash transfers.

“Turton and Wright were pivotal in this network, organising and arranging the supply of drugs and the transfer of huge amounts of cash on behalf of an international organised crime group. I cannot emphasise enough that the street value of the seized drugs is exponentially more than what we have valued them at in the prosecution case”

Over eight months detectives evidenced cocaine, amphetamine and cash being moved around the East Midlands, north to Manchester, through to Scotland, south to Warwickshire and Birmingham, and on to Milton Keynes, Banbury and London.”

In order to physically transfer their drugs and cash, Turton and Durant arranged for three specialists, a Brazilian and two Spaniards, to be flown in from the continent to adapt a number of vehicles. These secret compartments were so well hidden, they were only detectable by X-ray.

Rob Hickinbottom, regional commander of the National Crime Agency added: “Dawes was extradited to France in connection with the seizure of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine hidden in suitcases on an Air France flight, and we are continuing to support the French authorities ahead of his trial.”

The proceedings of that trial in Paris will be very interesting.

“Key associate” linked to Robert Dawes arrested in Spain

A “KEY member” of a drugs Cartel headed by British crime lord Robert Dawes has been arrested following a joint operation between Dutch and Spanish investigators.

Emiel Brummer, a 42-year-old Dutchman was held following a raid on a “safe house” used by the Cartel in Torremolinos on Spain’s Costa del Sol. The raid took place in recent weeks, but news of the operation codenamed “Misty” has only just emerged.

Brummer occupied a senior position within the Cartel, according to investigators who believe he was carrying on the crime group’s business at the highest levels following the vacuum left by the arrest of its head, Robert Dawes. Dawes’ luxury villa in Benalmadena was raided last November as part of Operation Halbert IV. Dawes is currently awaiting trial in Paris over a 1.3 tonne haul of cocaine seized on a flight from Venezuela to Paris in September 2013. Dawes is being held in a high-security prison pending the case being heard later this year.

Dutchman Brummer, who investigators tailed during frequent trips between Netherlands and Spain, was spotted meeting with Mexican cocaine cartel agents.

Brummer is believed to have been linked to the organised crime group which was led by Gwenette Martha who was assassinated in Amsterdam in May 2014. Investigators have also found significant links between the Cartel and the biker gang Satudarah or “One Blood” as it translates. The bikers have been used for transport links and security on consignments of drugs smuggled into Netherlands.

The operation against Brummer began in earnest after he was detected visiting Dawes in person before the British man’s arrest last November. The visits coincided investigators believe, with Brummer receiving instructions about shipments of cocaine being moved through Rotterdam and Antwerp ports.

As part of the Operation Misty Dutch and Spanish investigators searched 15 properties in Netherlands and Spain and made other arrests. Around six kilos of cocaine €500,000 in cash, diamonds, a number of firearms and hi-spec vehicles were seized. Several bank accounts in different countries were frozen and properties seized. Significantly they also seized highly-encrypted mobile phones used by Brummer.

Investigators in Netherlands are also keen to speak to Brummer about the role played by the organised crime group he has been linked to; specifically in a wave of recent liquidations involving the use of AK-47’s in Netherlands.

“Mocro-Maffia” man arrest in Dublin reveals links to Kinahan crime group

WHEN Garda detectives carried out a series of raids across Dublin last week in connection with the violent war between two rival Irish groups they didn’t expect to find a senior figure from a Dutch-Moroccan organised crime group.

Last week police officers descended on properties linked to the gang led by Christy Kinahan, the Dublin criminal known as the “Dapper Don”, who is based on Spain’s Costa Del Sol.

The raids, co-ordinated and targeted across the city, were designed to cause disruption within the ranks of the Kinahan gang and mute the current war between the Kinahan group and a group headed by Gerry “The Monk” Hutch. The feud has so far claimed at least five lives.

On April 7 at a swanky apartment filled with designer clothes in Baggot Street Lower, Dublin, detectives carrying out a pre-planned raid hoped to find evidence of the Kinahan clan, who are believed to use the €2,900 a month apartment as a safe house. Instead they found a man with a false Dutch passport and false Belgian identity papers. They also found three watches worth more than €80,000. The Dutchman was wearing trainers worth €800.

After the suspect had been arrested and fingerprinted Garda officers sent off an urgent check to Interpol. Their Dutch colleagues confirmed that the man they had arrested was 35-year-old Naoufal Fassih believed to be a senior figure of an Organised Crime Group fighting a bloody war on the streets of Amsterdam over a cocaine theft.

 

Naoufal Fassih, a significant player in the "Mocro Maffia" war currently being played out in Netherlands
Naoufal Fassih, a significant player in the “Mocro Maffia” war currently being played out in Netherlands

Fassih is understood to be a member of the criminal group led by Dutch crime boss Gwenette Martha, who was assassinated in Amsterdam in May 2014. The same group has been at war with another Dutch Moroccan group headed by Benaouf Adaoui over the theft of a batch of cocaine from Antwerp in 2012.

According to Dutch sources Fassih was also present when Dutch gangster Samir Bouyakhrichan was murdered in Marbella in August 2014. Another member of the same group Najib “Ziggy” Himmich disappeared in Madrid in November 2014. He is believed to have been abducted and murdered, though no body has yet been discovered. Himmich’s  girlfirend Luana Luz Xavier was shot dead in front of her children in Amsterdam in December 2014. Dutch police have linked all the deaths to the ongoing feud.

When Fassih appeared in court in Dublin this week, he was refused bail after the judge decided he was a “flight risk”. He has been charged with possession and use of a false passport and may face further charges of money-laundering unless he can provide evidence of his monetary income.

Judge Cormac Dunne deferred a decision on free legal aid after hearing the luxury apartment Fassih was arrested in contained three watches worth more than €80,000, as well as almost €13,000 in cash. Fassih was also wearing trainers worth at least €800.
Fassih is due to appear at Cloverhill District Court on April 22, when a decision will be taken about whether to move the case to the circuit court in Dublin. Fassih was represented in court by barrister Keith Spencer. Police said they had found two Rolex watches worth €8,350, and €35,000. A third watch found was a limited edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak worth €40,000.

Meanwhile Dutch detectives, who have been investigating the brutal slaying and beheading of 23-year-old Nabil Amzieb in Amsterdam last month, are taking a keen interest in the proceedings in Dublin.

 

 

“Mocro-Maffia” war sinks to new depths

ON Tuesday, in a burnt out Volkswagen Caddy, police found the body of a 23-year-old young mechanic in a quiet residential area of Amsterdam. His head was missing. The following morning, the city had a gruesome awakening when the head of Nabil Amzieb was found placed outside a nightspot called Fayrouz which was sometimes frequented by Dutch-Moroccan gangsters. The severed head was pointing towards the window of the Shisha bar, as if looking in. It was clearly a message from the underworld.

A paaserby captured the crime scene outside the Fayrouz Lounge
A passer by captured the crime scene outside the Fayrouz Lounge – the head of the victim covered by a blue container.

Police believe that the horror find is connected to the ongoing war which erupted more than three years ago in Amsterdam between two Dutch-Moroccan gangs involved in the cocaine trade.

The victim is believed to have been linked to a group led by 31-year-old Benaouf Adaoui, currently in prison, who has been at war with a group led by Gwenette Martha who was assassinated in May 2014. Adaoui’s group were known to frequent the Fayrouz bar and thought to have planned some of their liquidations from confines of the venue. Some media reports have suggested that the 23-year-old victim had been planning to give evidence in a forthcoming case connected to the recent liquidations.

The authorities had recently spoken of hopes, that an end to the wave of liquidations plaguing Amsterdam – and further afield in Spain and Belgium – was in sight. It has sadly proved to be a pipe dream.

the scene where Nabil Amzieb's headless body was found in a burnt out car
The scene where the headless body of Nabil Amzieb (pictured right) was found in a burnt out car on Tuesday

British crime lord charged in connection with record 1.3 tonnes cocaine haul

CRIME boss Robert Dawes has been formally charged by the French authorities after they seized more than 1.3 tonnes of cocaine at Paris airport.

The cocaine was seized from a flight from Caracas, Venezuela which arrived at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport in September 2013. It is the largest seizure ever made in France.

Dawes, 43, was flown from Madrid to Paris where was formally charged by investigating magistrate Anne Bamberger last week and remanded into custody pending a trial. It is understood the French have been investigating Dawes using sophisticated phone taps for at least the past 12 months after intelligence indicated he was behind the huge haul. Britain National Crime Agency and Spain’s Guardia Civil have been assisting the French in their investigation.

Robert Dawes now faces trial in France as the organiser of the record cocaine haul
Robert Dawes now faces trial in France as the organiser of the record cocaine haul

Several key lieutenants of his organisation from the Mijas Costa in Spain, were arrested at the time the haul was seized in September 2013 and have remained in custody since. Dawes was arrested at his family’s villa in Benalmadena, Spain last month. He has a string of front companies in the UK, Spain, Dubai and Malta which have provided safe docking for money-laundering over the last 13 years.

Dawes arrest was captured on film by a swat team of Guardia Civil officers who arrested the British man at his Benalmadena villa. Officers raiding his property discovered a number of firearms, hundreds of new sim cards for mobile phones and a state-of-the-art command and control centre where he operated from.

The moment Guardia Civil officers led Robert Dawes away for extradition to France
The moment Guardia Civil officers led Robert Dawes away for extradition to France

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, took a personal interest in the case when the bust was made revealing that some of the cocaine had been stored in at least 30 suitcases which had been tagged with the names of “ghost” passengers. This had been destined for Netherlands and the UK.

Investigators also seized another part of the load, around 400 kilos, from a lorry at the Luxembourg border which they believe was destined for the Italian mafia. Three Italians, and two British men connected to Dawes, were arrested at the time along with a number of National Guard officials in Venezuela who are believed to have helped the drug gang get the cargo past checks at Caracas airport.

Manuel Valls shows off the cocaine seizure in September 2013
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls shows off the cocaine seizure in September 2013

The French-led investigation has been supported by investigators from Spain’s Guardia Civil and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

As I have reported previously , Dutch, Spanish and British investigators are taking a keen interest as the process in France unfolds, as all still have the name of the British crime lord firmly on their list of cases unresolved. The merry-go-round has now started in earnest.

British brothers jailed after 12-year-old Dutch schoolboy shot dead over cocaine theft feud

TWO British men were part of a drugs gang which shot dead a 12-year-old Dutch schoolboy by mistake after they were sent to kidnap members of a family believed to have stolen a huge batch of cocaine.
 
A Dutch court has sentenced half-brothers Alistair Weekes and Tyrone Gillard to 20 years in prison along with a third defendant, Dutchman Marcellino Fraser, after 12-year-old Danny Gubbels was shot dead in Breda, Netherlands in July 2010.
The trio were part of a seven-man team which arrived at the Gubbels static caravan home in Breda with the intent of kidnapping John Gubbels, father of Danny, according to court records. They had been sent by their crime bosses, to resolve the issue of a missing 400 kilos shipment of cocaine from a container in Antwerp in 2010.
 
On the evening of July 14th 2010, the gang banged on the door of the Gubbels’ home with no response. Shortly after, several members of the gang began opening fire believing the house was empty. But inside Danny was playing computer games at the table with his mother nearby. Both were hit by fragments of rounds which ricocheted around the building in a 20 second burst of automatic fire in which 27 rounds hit the Gubbels’ home.
Danny Gubbels, who died aged 12
Danny Gubbels, who died aged 12
 
While Danny’s mother survived the firearms onslaught after diving onto the floor, her son’s vital organs were hit by a ricochet. A fragment of a round penetrated his liver. He died in hospital from his wounds later the same night.
 
It transpired, the crime scene had been under police surveillance for a number of weeks prior to, and at the time of the shooting. Dutch crime investigators were probing the Gubbels family links to cocaine smuggling. Police camera images showed the men in balaclavas arrive in a transit van before approaching the door of the Gubbels house and attempt to gain entry and then begin firing.
 
Police traced the gunmen after the van they used in the raid was discovered and DNA samples linked Weekes, Gillard and Fraser to the crime scene. An initial prosecution against the trio in 2013 resulted in only Gillard and Fraser being convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. But prosecutors appealed the case and Weekes was also convicted with the sentences raised to 20 years for all three defendants in a ruling last week. At this hearing Tyrone Gillard had admitted to driving the gunmen to the scene of the shooting in Breda. Fraser and Weekes denied being part of the gang but DNA evidence on a number of items seized from the van linked them to the crime scene. Investigators have been unable to identify at least four others involved in Danny Gubbels’ death.
 
Weekes, 34 and Gillard, 29, both from Leeds born to the same mother but different fathers, were known to police in the UK. Weekes was arrested by officers from the then Serious Organised Crime Agency (now the National Crime Agency) in Armley prison, Leeds on a European Arrest Warrant in 2011. He had previously been convicted of shooting his half-brother Nathan Williams by mistake after a sawn-off shotgun they had been “messing around with” went off in December 2001.
 
The two claimed they had been given the gun by another man while they were behind a takeaway food shop in Armley, Leeds. Williams’ life was only saved by the skill of medical staff.He went on to make a full recovery. Weekes, then a 20-year-old, was sentenced to four years in a young offenders’ institution.
 
Tyrone Gillard was arrested by a team of Dutch SWAT officers in Amsterdam, where it is understood he had been living for at least a year. In court, few details have emerged about the power-base behind those hired to resolve the debt. 
 
One person of interest, identified by Dutch investigators as an investor in the cocaine load which was stolen, was a man named Samir Bouyakhrichan. Samir went by the nickname “Scarface”. The Dutch-Moroccan was believed to be one of Europe’s biggest drugs kingpins and had previously been linked to a huge haul of cocaine in Southampton in 2011.
Bouyakhrichan was arrested in connection with the Gubbels murder enquiry and was extradited from Spain to Netherlands on a European Arrest Warrant in March 2012. Dutch investigators quizzed him but courts ruled there was not enough to prosecute him. He was released within a week. He was dead within two years. Gunned down late at night in a Benahavis cafe near Marbella, Spain in August 2014, Bouyakhrichan, 36, was yet another victim of a violent power struggle which is ongoing in the Dutch underworld.
 
One question has taxed the minds of Dutch prosecutors in this case. Why would English criminals be tasked with a job in the “flat place” unless there were English interests to be protected.
 
A Dutch source with knowledge of the investigation said: “We believe that the death of Danny Gubbels was linked to a stolen batch of cocaine which a member of the Gubbels family had ripped from a bigger organisation. The gang may have been told to kidnap a family member to demand their goods or money back but it went wrong and Danny tragically paid the price for this. The use of a number of English gang members in this would indicate that there was some British interest involved.”
 
Danny’s father John Gubbels and his eldest son were both convicted of cocaine trafficking after 130 kilos of the drug were discovered in a police raid after Danny’s death.