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Spain accidentally releases drug lord who planned to kill heir to Dutch throne

by editor

A notorious cartel boss who reportedly planned to murder the heir to the Dutch throne and Prime Minister Mark Rutte has escaped prison due to a judicial mix-up in Spain.

“Mocro Maffia” leader Karim Bouyakhrichan was arrested in Marbella last January in a major operation that concluded a five-year money laundering investigation.

Upon learning of his detention, Dutch authorities filed an extradition request with Spain’s National Court, asking that the gang leader be sent back to the Netherlands to face charges related to his drug trafficking empire.

The National Court in Madrid greenlit the request but the Provincial Court in Málaga, which has jurisdiction over the area where Bouyakhrichan was arrested, declined to execute it, arguing the drug kingpin had to face the money laundering charges in Spain before being extradited elsewhere.

Dutch authorities appealed, filing a new, urgent request stressing that the cartel boss was one of Interpol’s most wanted criminals and that he was sought for his role in a decade-long, pan-continental drug war in which dozens of people were killed in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Morocco.

Spain’s Cadena SER radio network on Tuesday revealed that although the National Court accepted the Dutch appeal, it neglected to issue a detention order that would have ensured Bouyakhrichan remained behind bars until the extradition was carried out.

When his money laundering case came up for an initial hearing at the Provincial Court in Málaga last month, the presiding judge agreed to release the gang chief on a bail of €50,000. Bouyakhrichan, a billionaire who possesses bank accounts and properties around the world, promptly paid the cash and skipped town. Authorities haven’t seen him since.

In 2022 the Dutch Princess Amalia had to withdraw from her student housing complex and return to the royal palace after police obtained credible evidence indicating that Bouyakhrichan was planning to either kidnap or assassinate the heir to the throne.

The cartel boss’ release will likely require a reinforcement of security protocols enacted to protect her safety, as well as that of political leaders including caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who was reported by Dutch outlet De Telegraaf to be on Bouyakhrichan’s list of possible high-profile targets.

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