Brazilian police arrest alleged hitman wanted in Netherlands; Suspected Taghi accomplice
The Brazilian police arrested Dutch fugitive Gerel P. in an apartment in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) confirmed to NOS on Thursday.
Early this year, the 38-year-old man was convicted in absentia for two attempted assassinations and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was found guilty of shooting two men from Rotterdam in Noordeloos, near Gorinchem, at the end of 2016. The victims were seriously injured, but survived the attack.
A few months alter, P. was arrested in Suriname. But he escaped from prison after 11 days in pre-trial detention and disappeared without a trace.
The authorities also believe that P. has ties with Ridouan Taghi. The authorities believe Taghi was involved in multiple drug-related assassinations in the Netherlands, including the murder of defense attorney Derk Wiersum in 2019. He was representing Nabil B. at the time of his murder. B. is a key witness in the Marengo process against Taghi. Peter R. de Vries, a crime reporter who acted as confidant for B., was shot in Amsterdam on Tuesday and is currently in critical condition. It is not yet clear whether his shooting was connected to his role as B.'s confidant.
P. was detained on suspicion of involvement in the 2015 assassination of spyshop employee Ronald Bakker, who gave the police information about Taghi's activities. This case will be handled in the trial against Taghi. It is not yet known whether Bakker will be prosecuted for the murder.
The OM will request P.'s extradition from Brazil. This may take several months, depending on P.'s willingness to cooperate with his return to the Netherlands.