LONDON: A suspected drug lord believed to be the Netherlands’ most wanted man has been arrested in Dubai, police said on Tuesday.
Dubai Police announced the arrest of 41-year old Ridouan Taghi, who is alleged to be the leader of the “Angels of Death” cartel operating across Europe and Africa.
Taghi had been living in Dubai since 2016 and was arrested at a villa that he rarely left, director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Dubai Police Jamal Salem Al-Jallaf told Dutch media.
Al-Jallaf added that the Moroccan-born Taghi had been “careful, very careful,” adding: “The curtains of the house were always closed, no light came out. You could not see from outside if there was someone inside.”
The suspect also attracted international attention in September after a Dutch lawyer for a state witness in a major case against him was shot dead outside his home in Amsterdam.
Dubai Police said several international arrest warrants had been issued against Taghi last year on charges of ordering a series of murders, drug trafficking and of belonging to a criminal cartel, adding that his arrest was made possible through cooperation between Dubai Police, Dutch officers and INTERPOL, according to Emirates News Agency (WAM).
The Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al-Marri, said the suspect entered the country through Dubai International Airport using official documents, which included a passport and a visa that were not his own, and that coming from the Netherlands the suspect was able to enter the UAE before a notification regarding him was issued by authorities in his own country.
He added that the suspect lived in one of Dubai’s residential areas without engaging in any criminal activity and managed his daily affairs with the help of his acquaintances of various nationalities.
In connection with Taghi’s arrest, Dutch police have arrested six people in a series of raids across the Netherlands.
“Following this arrest, eight house searches were made on Monday evening and six suspects were arrested. This concerns five men and a woman between the ages of 29 and 45,” Dutch police said in a statement.
“The suspects have been arrested for money laundering, possession of weapons and possession of drugs.”
The searches were in various locations including the capital Amsterdam and the central city of Utrecht.
Erik Akerboom, Commissioner of Netherlands Police, thanked the UAE authorities and Dubai Police for their cooperation and efforts to track down the accused, WAM reported.
He said that Dubai Police’s help was of “vital importance” in making the arrest possible. The Commissioner further said that Dubai Police had “set an example for cooperation between authorities in combating organized crime around the world.”
Dutch media reported that the Netherlands and Dubai have no extradition treaty but authorities in both countries were working on transferring Taghi possibly by the end of February.