Cop asked to stop undercover sting before killing himself: report
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An undercover police officer took his own life in April. Before his suicide, he repeatedly asked the leadership of his department to stop the sting he'd been working on for 15 months, "well-established sources" told newspaper AD. The department leadership decided to continue the "Lugo" operation against the cop's will because they wanted to find an alleged corrupt contact of suspected drug trafficker Joop M. in the port of Vlissingen, according to the newspaper.
For the operation, undercover cop Peter Paul Bakker - his pseudonym - moved in next door to Joop M. and his girlfriend Debbie in the Noord-Brabant town of Zevenbergschen Hoek. Bakker maintained his cover and secret life for 15 months until he took his own life in April of this year.
Bakker's colleagues, who also asked for the operation to be halted, told AD that problems at work played a significant role in Bakker's decision to take his own life. Bakker, married in his real life, was struggling with a crisis of conscience after an affair with neighbor Debbie. When he discussed it with his superiors, he felt attacked rather than supported, his colleagues said. "They chased him to his death," a colleague said to AD. "We can't prove that this happened because of the work, but the way he was treated did not help."
Joop M. is suspected of involvement in trafficking two batches of 800 and 500 kilos of cocaine. He will appear in the court of Breda for a pre-trial hearing this week. It is unclear whether the Lugo operation revealed his alleged contact at the Vlissingen port. Official reports were not added to the criminal file, according to the Public Prosecutor, because Bakker can no longer sign them.
M.'s lawyer, Michel van Stratum, is trying to figure out what happened by questioning witnesses. He will submit a list with witnesses he wants to talk to in court on Thursday.
According to AD, one of the witnesses he wants to talk to is Marjolein Smit. Until recently, she headed the undercover department and was Bakker's superior. Smit was relieved of her position and transferred to the Surveillance and Security department. According to the newspaper, the immediate cause seems to be "a third, partly work-related, suicide in three years" in her department.