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Spanish court takes 36 days to order capture of 'most-wanted and dangerous' leader of feared criminal gang in the Netherlands
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Spanish court takes 36 days to order capture of 'most-wanted and dangerous' leader of feared criminal gang in the Netherlands

Karim Bouyakhrichan, the most wanted criminal in the Netherlands who was arrested in January in Marbella, was surprisingly released by a Malaga court in February

Melchor Sáiz-Pardo / Juan Cano

Madrid / Malaga

Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 16:03

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At least 36 days after his escape from Marbella, two search and arrest warrants have been issued for Karim Bouyakhrichan, probably the most dangerous and powerful kingpin of the 'Mocro Mafia'.

The most wanted criminal in the Netherlands was arrested in January on the Costa del Sol, but was surprisingly released in February and has been at large since he signed in for a court appearance on 1 April.

The two warrants issued on Tuesday 7 May are a European arrest warrant and an international arrest warrant for the fugitive, who was released in February thanks to a decision of the Malaga provincial court. The release and escape of the criminal boss has caused a commotion in the Netherlands, where the news of his capture was celebrated after the Mocro Maffia had threatened to kill the heiress to the Dutch throne, Princess Amalia of Orange.

The bizarre story that ended with the escape of the Maghrebi kingpin began on 10 January. As expected, Marbella magistrate's court, which was on duty during his arrest, ordered Bouyakhrichan to be remanded in custody. The accusations on Spanish land of heading a money laundering scheme more than justified detaining him.

Just over a month

But that imprisonment lasted little more than a month. On 22 February, Malaga provincial court released the leader of the Mocro Mafia, with lax precautionary measures, including the withdrawal of his passport, the obligation to appear in court every 15 days and the payment of a bail of 50,000 euros.

After handing in his passport at the Marbella court the day after his release, he signed in at courts outside Malaga on 1 and 15 March and 1 April. But after that date there is no record of him doing so again.

The surprising release on the appeal is even more inexplicable considering the Malaga Court of Appeal took this decision despite strong opposition of the Anti-Drugs Prosecutor's Office and aware the Netherlands had already begun the process of obtaining his surrender.

But there is still more. In the release order, seen by SUR, the judges recognise that "there is a risk of absconding, given that the appellant is a foreign citizen, and there is no evidence that he has real estate in Spain, where he has been living in a house owned by his wife".

By the time Bouyakhrichan was released from prison, the Dutch authorities had already issued an arrest warrant for Bouyakhrichan, which had been issued only hours after his arrest in Marbella.

That reached Spain's High Court without a problem. The case went to court headed by Judge Ismael Moreno. This magistrate immediately processed the warrant, but it was not activated because the Malaga Provincial Court refused to do so, considering that Bouyakhrichan had pending cases in Spain - a six-million-euro money laundering offence - before he could be handed over.

It was then the Dutch authorities sent the Spanish High Court an extension of the surrender warrant. In it, they argued the extreme urgency of the transfer of this dangerous drug trafficker, leader of the Mocro Mafia, and his very long criminal record. Spain's High Court could have issued an arrest warrant at that time to secure his extradition, but it did not do so either, and it is not known why.

Ismael Moreno simply decided to summon the offender - through his lawyer - to inform him of his extradition. However, without ordering his capture, despite the fact that the Maghrebi had shown his absolute refusal to end up in Holland. And from then on, not a trace. Bouyakhrichan did not show up at the date with Spain's High Court (which in recent days has already ordered his search and capture) or at any of his regular court appearances.

The escape has provoked anger in the Netherlands. Its liaison judge met in person with magistrate Ismael Moreno to express his concern over the release and escape of what the ministry of the interior itself defined in January, after his capture, as the "most wanted and dangerous criminal in the Netherlands".

Bouyakhrichan, a Dutchman of Moroccan origin, is the brother of Samir Bouyakhrichan, who was murdered in Benahavís (Malaga) in 2014 and from whom he inherited the leadership of one of the most important groups of the Mocro Mafia.

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