Cocaine trafficking case against footballer Quincy Promes outlined in first hearing
Professional football player Quincy Promes lost a portion of the cocaine he was attempting to traffic, as one of the consignments he invested in was partly caught by Belgian authorities, alleged the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) in court on Monday afternoon. It was the first session in the Porto proceedings, the nickname given to the international drug trafficking case being heard by the District Court in Amsterdam. Earlier in the day, prosecutors in a separate case demanded Promes spend two years in prison for allegedly stabbing his cousin.
Promes currently plays football in Russia, and thus far has claimed he cannot attend the hearings due to contractual obligations. His representation has also said they fear he will be taken into custody if he shows up for questioning by investigators.
The Porto case involves Promes, 31, and 31-year-old co-defendant Marylio V. from Purmerend. It revolves around the attempt to import two shipments of cocaine via the Westerschelde and the Port of Antwerp in January 2020. The first batch included 650 bricks of cocaine weighing one kilogram each. The second batch weighed over 712 kilograms, the OM said.
Encrypted chat messages that were intercepted and decrypted led investigators to deduce that Promes had invested in a shipment of cocaine, and that he chatted with extractors about the time the ship was likely to be unloaded, and the search for the relevant sea container.
One of the extractors wrote in a chat that "that a batch has been lost." Promes allegedly replied that he hoped it would still be found, and when it turned out that it might not happen, prosecutors said Promes wrote, "Shit man." This was using a SkyECC encrypted chat account attributed to him, the OM claimed.
Co-defendant V. supposedly responded with, "so half is safe, risk of the trade."
A month later, in February 2020, a message was sent from the SkyECC account supposedly from Promes stating, "I'll let you know right away, my previous delivery was a half-failure. They came in two batches. One is down, one got jammed, so my entire profit fell by half."
The cocaine was hidden in stacked bags of salt. It involved 650 bricks, divided into 216 salt bags.
The actual trial date has not yet been announced. A second introductory hearing was scheduled for August 11 to deal with the case against the co-defendant, V. If Promes remains in Russia, where he is under contract with Spartak Moscow, the case could be heard by the court without his presence.
On Monday morning, the Public Prosecution Service stood behind their demand that Promes spend two years in prison for assaulting his cousin. Promes is alleged to have stabbed his cousin in the knee at a party in Abcoude during the overnight period from July 24 to 25, 2020. Promes is suspected of aggravated assault. The court was due to rule in March, but reopened the case pending review of additional documents. The court will now issue a verdict on June 19.
The assault came to light because the footballer's phone was tapped in the drug trafficking investigation. Those intercepted conversations were lawful, the OM insisted. Defense attorney Robert Malewicz disputed this, because the recently provided files do not show whether all documents with multiple attachments were properly submitted to the examining magistrate when seeking permission for the wiretaps.
According to the public prosecutor, information came to the Criminal Intelligence Team (TCI) as early as 2018 that Promes had invested in a batch of cocaine. In December 2019, information again arrived at the TCI suggesting that Promes had a secure phone with which he could send encrypted messages via SkyECC.
In April 2020, new information from the TCI showed that Promes had contact with criminals in the drug trafficking world, and that he had a weapon, the OM said.
At the hearing, the prosecutor said that the examining magistrate had been asked several times to extend the tapping of Promes's telephone and that eavesdropping equipment was eventually also placed in his car. The OM deduced from the tapped conversations between him and his partner that Promes "went down the criminal road."
Reporting by ANP