Gang leader Taghi’s right-hand threatened crime reporter from Colombian prison cell
Said R., the right-hand man of alleged drug gang leader Ridouan Taghi, threatened to kill crime reporter John van den Heuvel from a prison cell in Colombia, NU.nl reports after seeing the threatening messages.
R. was arrested in Colombia in early 2020 after a years-long manhunt. In August 2020, he sent threatening messages from his prison cell in Colombia about Van den Heuvel. “He thinks he’s safe now,” one message read.
According to the newspaper, the threats were prompted by Van den Heuvel making contact with one of R.’s criminal rivals. The rival isn’t mentioned by name, but he is believed to form part of a collaboration against Taghi’s criminal organization. “That is why that dog John had to pay,” R. said in a message sent with an encrypted phone.
Van den Heuven has been under strict security since 2017. The crime journalist for the Telegraaf previously said that Taghi was after him, and these messages reinforce that. “This is once again proof that a certain category of suspects also continues their criminal activities from prison,” Van den Heuvel told NU.nl.
Colombia extradited Said R., and he is now imprisoned in the high-security penitentiary in Vught, along with Taghi. R. is accused of playing a leading role in Taghi’s criminal organization and directing several assassinations, including that of Martin Kok in 2016.
R.’s trial is happening separately from other suspected members of Taghi’s gang, who are standing trial in the Marengo process. The Public Prosecutor demanded five life sentences in the Marengo process in June. The case will resume on September 13.