Suspect gets 20 years in prison for terrorizing fruit importer after botched cocaine deal
Ali G. was sentenced to 19 years and ten months in prison on Tuesday in the extortion case involving fruit company De Groot in Hedel. The sentence is lower than the 26 years and seven months in prison the Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded against the main suspect from Gooi at the end of June.
According to the court in Arnhem, the 37-year-old G. tried to extort the fruit importer after the authorities intercepted 400 kilograms of cocaine hidden between a shipment of bananas. The company received many threatening text messages that ultimately demanded 2.5 million euros in bitcoins.
G. incited various men to set off explosives at the homes of the fruit company’s employees. He allegedly continued doing that from prison. The court concluded that G. instigated all 15 horrific attacks and shooting at homes, speaking of an “unprecedented terror campaign.”
Through a fellow detainee, G. ordered people to shoot at four homes in the Bommelerwaard and set fire to a house in Tiel in May and June last year. The Public Prosecutor demanded prison sentences ranging between 20 months and 16 years against the suspected perpetrators. The court sentenced five of the eight suspects to prison terms ranging from 16 months to 9 years and acquitted the other three. One also got institutionalized psychiatric treatment in a juvenile institution.
“The entire Bommelerwaard has been living in fear of attacks for years. The suspects are partly responsible for this feeling of insecurity,” the court said.
Earlier this year, the court sentenced G.’s half-brother Yassine A. (22) to ten years in prison as an “adjutant” and “conduit” of G. The Prosecutor demanded 16 years in prison against him.
The authorities found a list of the fruit company’s employees in G. and A.’s parental home, with notes by Ali G. Due to a blunder by the OM, that list with 140 addresses of employees and former employees ended up in the criminal file.
Part of the OM’s evidence in this case comes from a co-defendant, who was sentenced to four years in prison last spring for his part as a driver in firebombing attacks in Breda, Rosmalen, Tiel, and Vlijmen, among others. Undercover cops posing as criminals questioned him about this case. The conversation happened in a van without recording equipment. The court found his statements reliable and the undercover operation justified.
G.’s sentence is lower than what the OM demanded because while the case involved severe threats and attempted manslaughter, there was no attempted murder. He was also acquitted of sending one of the series of threatening messages.
Reporting by ANP