Crime Lord to face arrest over brutal 2002 murder

British crime lord Robert Dawes, recently jailed in Paris over a 1.3 tonnes shipment of cocaine, will be quizzed by Dutch detectives over the brutal murder of school teacher Gerard Meesters.

French and Dutch authorities have confirmed that a European Arrest Warrant has been granted for 46-year-old Dawes after new evidence linking the crime boss to the murder has emerged.

Dawes under surveillance in Spain in 2013

The arrest warrant was granted on November 26 just weeks before Dawes was convicted for a 1.3 tonnes shipment of cocaine seized at Charles de Gaulle airport in September 2013. The move was seen as backstop position should Dawes be cleared of the Paris charges. Just before Christmas, after a two-week trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 22 years for organising the load on board a passenger flight from Caracas, Venezuela.

Under the terms of the arrest warrant, Dawes could be extradited to the Netherlands and face a trial over the murder of Mr Meesters in the very near future. A murder charge would take precedence over the recent sentence for the drug conviction. However, it is highly likely that any extradition to the Netherlands will have to be ratified by a judge in France.

It is understood Dutch prosecutors, after submitting a legal assistance request several months ago, are still awaiting authority from the British government to interview several witnesses in the case in the UK.

During the trial in Paris, evidence emerged of Dawes’ links to organised crime groups across the world and South America drug cartels over a 17 year period as well as his links another murder in Nottinghamshire in 2002 and the disappearance of a man whose body has never been found.

After the conviction National Crime Agency deputy director Matt Horne said: “Dawes was one of the most significant organised criminals in Europe with a network that literally spanned the globe.

“He had connections in South America, the Middle East, Asia and across Europe, which enabled him to orchestrate the movements of huge amounts of class A drugs and money.

“This was often facilitated by the utilisation of corrupt law enforcement, port workers and government officials.Despite the fact Dawes has been based overseas for many years, his offending has continued to have an impact on communities in the UK, particularly in Nottingham and the East Midlands.

“Dawes was prepared to use extreme levels of violence in order to further his reputation and take retribution against those who crossed him. Members or associates of his criminal group are known to have been involved in intimidation, shootings and murders.”