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Horror shooting We need to cut off oxygen supply to drug cartels or more crime fighters like Peter R De Vries will fall

The Dutch reporter pursued the truth in unsolved cases using his fame to carry the stories of people who would otherwise have been forgotten.

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Mr de Vries was well known for reporting on the Dutch underworld (AP)

Mr de Vries was well known for reporting on the Dutch underworld (AP)

Mr de Vries was well known for reporting on the Dutch underworld (AP)

The Dutch either love him or hate him but one thing is for sure as he fights for his life in hospital following a horrific shooting on a busy Amsterdam street is that all of The Netherlands is hoping for a miracle for Peter R De Vries.

Outspoken, controversial and larger than life the crime journalist and television star was taken down by a hitman’s bullet as he strolled from a TV studio on the Lange Leidsedwarsstraatthe, one of Amsterdam’s pretty tourism hubs where visitors sip coffee and marvel at the beauty of the city.

He was left in a pool of blood on the street, a shocking image of the threat levelled by drug gangs.

The attack happened just after 7.30pm and later pictures showed the stunned expression on the faces of young police men and women securing the crime scene. What happened was unthinkable.

Be under no illusion; this atrocity is not just one that should shock De Vries' journalism colleagues, the police and politicians of The Netherlands, this is the cold face of a narco terrorism that is coming for us like a juggernaut.

In Ireland we are trying to hold back a tide of cocaine, a tsunami of white powder that is destroying communities, turning children into the soldiers of wealthy and violent drug gangs and which is now threatening to destroy the very foundations of our state.

Blindly we fund the very criminals who terrify us with their violence and their ability to play God on an Amsterdam Street with the life of a 64-year-old warrior who has dedicated his life to exposing wrong doing.

We have turned these drug bosses into the billionaires they have become.

We have paid for their luxury villas, their fast cars and we have paid for their guns.

No human is a match for a gun no matter how brave they are.

Just as we destroy the earth we have created a monster with our insatiable appetite for a line of coke and we have empowered an underworld to take us on.

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De Vries is a huge celebrity in the Netherlands. He started his career in De Telegraaf where he worked as a crime correspondence before he got his own TV show which lasted 17 years and catapulted him to the A list.

De Vries is fearless and has been lauded for his bravery in the face of criminality. At one point an infamous criminal Willem Holleeder, the kidnapper of Freddy Heineken, was convicted of making threats against De Vries.

As his career developed he became an activist journalist and a campaigner, moving away from ordinary reporting.

He pursued the truth in unsolved cases using his fame to carry the stories of people who would otherwise have been forgotten.

He won an Emmy Award for a television show he made about Natalee Holloway, a US teenager who disappeared on the Caribbean Island of Aruba in 2005. Frequently he acted as a spokesperson for witnesses in police or court cases.

And it was with that hat that he had most recently become an advisor to Nabil B, the state witness and former gang member who has been at the centre of the case against Ridouan Taghi.

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Ridouan Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands.

Ridouan Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands.

Ridouan Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands.

Taghi was returned to the Netherlands in December 2019 after he was dramatically arrested in Dubai where he had been hiding out under a false identity.

There he had attended the wedding of Daniel Kinahan in 2017 while on the run and leaked DEA files would later indicate that he had formed a European super cartel with the head of the Irish mafia, Raffaele Imperiale of the Italian Camorra and a Bosnian grouping known as the Tito and Dino cartel.

Months before he was handed over by authorities in the United Arab Emirates, a lawyer representing Nabil B had been murdered in Amsterdam.

The shooting of Derk Weirsum was shocking in the extreme and later when Nabil B’s innocent brother was also shot dead, Taghi was suspected of directing terrorism from his bolthole in Dubai.

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Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Taghi and 16 gang members are currently standing trial in the Netherlands for multiple gangland murders but recently Nabil B has told the court he is sick and asked the judge to postpone questioning him until December which was granted.

Crime journalist Jan Meeus has told sundayworld.com podcast Crime World that in his opinion the case does not need Nabil B to proceed as there is lot of encrypted messages being used as evidence which have already been accepted in a separate trial.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the shooting of De Vries will centre on the Marengo trial and his role as an advisor to the crown witness.

It’s hard to imagine how a once unknown street gang have taken on such a significant place in what is the rise of narco terrorism in Europe.

Taghi was for years a nobody and it took just a short time for him to make his way up the ladder to the very top of organised crime.

All the while officers were trying to fight a growing tide of cocaine while gangsters were using encrypted phones to do their business like never before.

The last 10 years has been a goldrush for criminals including Daniel Kinahan’s Irish mob who were perfectly placed on the Costa and with serious connections across the world to emerge as billionaire cocaine barons.

In Ireland the county lines have been pushed into every village and ever rural street corner where drugs are available like sweets and where generations eager for a night out have bought them without care for the bigger picture.

This week 100 youth workers called for drugs to be legalised to radically change our approach to a war on drugs which communities are losing every day.

Theirs is desperate plea from a front line under ferocious pressure from the insatiable greed of the drug barons to become richer and ever more powerful.

Cutting off their oxygen would see their houses of cards fall like never before but as long as every drug users buys ‘just’ a line of coke that won’t happen and heroes like De Vries will continue to fall.

De Vries had earlier tweeted that he was on Taghi’s death list but the caged criminal him a letter insisting that he was not.

Last month, De Vries was interviewed by Vrij Nederland. In it he said that he is not afraid, but said: “Nabil’s brother and his former lawyer were murdered, so you don’t have to be hysterical to think that something could well happen. That’s part of the job.”

As he fights for his life in hospital with critical injuries few could think that any job is worth a life.

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