The Mocro Mob is at it Again

I’ve reported a number of times (most recently here) on the activities of the “Mocro Mob” led by the violent “Dutch” criminal Ridouan Taghi. Mr. Taghi’s mob is suspected of assassinating the investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries.

The two articles below, both translated by Gary Fouse, describe an incident in Amsterdam in which another investigative journalist, John van den Heuvel, was apparently the intended target of the Mocro Mob.

The first article is from the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad:

Arrest on A2 after threatening situation involving John van den Heuvel

Video: The arrest on A2 this afternoon followed a threatening situation involving crime reporter John van den Heuvel, who was under protection by police. That is according to several police sources for this news site.

Yelle Tieleman and Koen Voskuil
January 6, 2022

Van den Heuvel was sitting in an armored police vehicle on the highway when a suspicious situation arose. “It looked like he was being followed, thus the alarm was sounded,” said a police source. “The Special Intervention Service stopped an Audi on the road” One person is in custody. According to another police source, the arrestee is someone with a criminal record. In addition to the fast Audi RS3, which was stopped on the road, some motorcycles were reportedly seen on the highway, which rode off at a high speed.

“It is true that in the afternoon in the Amsterdam area, an incident occurred, in which my security team followed a precautionary protocol and extra security measures were taken,” Telegraaf reporter John van den Heuvel replied when asked. “The police are conducting an investigation after the incident, and I have the fullest trust that this is being done in the proper way.”

On Instragram, the journalist expressed his appreciation for the police security team. “What seemed like a peaceful workday ended abruptly today in a messy, possibly suspicious situation, in which my security team from the DKDB, fortunately, reacted professionally and adequately. I greatly appreciate their sharpness and alertness,” writes Van den Heuvel. “Thanks to these police, I am fortunately able to continue doing my work. Hopefully, further police investigation will bring more clarity to the background of this occurrence. Thank you for the supportive messages I have received.”

The National Police unit speaks of a suspicious situation: “The incident this afternoon on A2 involved a protected person (TBP). According to the security protocol, the TBP drove to the nearest police location. The police are investigating the matter and cannot at this moment go into the substance.”

“Deeply sad”

“It is deeply sad that someone who is just doing his job is threatened in this manner. And that they were apparently ready to make it happen,” reacted Thomas Bruning, General Secretary of the Journalists’ Union, NJV. “We are moving toward the Italian conditions, in which people who work in justice or journalism have to be protected. That is a sad commentary. I have a lot of respect for John not giving up and just continuing to do his job under these extreme circumstances. A positive aspect is that his security works.”

Extra security

According to police sources, the crime reporter Van den Heuvel was transferred to Driebergen, where the main office of the National Police Unit is located. “That was the closest secure place at that time”. At that location there was extra security this afternoon. In front of the gate were officers with automatic weapons and bullet-proof vests. A helicopter also landed.

The incident on A2 led to a traffic jam. According to traffic information from the ANWB, the amount of delay from Amsterdam to Utrecht in the early afternoon was one-and-a-half hours due to the traffic jam. Now all lanes are open.

Threat

Van den Heuvel has long been threatened for his work. In 2017, he filed a complaint against the motorcycle club No Surrender, because he was threatened. At the end of 2018, he was unable to work at RTL Boulevard, where he reported on criminal cases. The chance that criminals would carry out an attack against him was considered real at the time. In addition, after the murder of his colleague, Peter R. de Vries, he did not appear on the program for some time.

In 2020, a 31-year-old man from Amsterdam was sentenced to 4 years in prison* for possession of a rocket launcher. According to the Public Prosecutor, the rocket launcher was going to be used to carry out an attack against Van den Heuvel.

A later update on the incident implicated an associate of Ridouan Taghi:

Suspect preparing “serious crime” against John van den Heuvel is Mourad O., 36, from Utrecht

The suspect who was arrested Thursday on A2 for the incident involving the heavily-protected transport of John van den Heuvel is 36-year-old Mourad O. from Utrecht. He has a rap sheet, but not for serious offenses, and is on the fringes of the gangland murder Marengo case against Ridouan Taghi et al.

by Wouter Laumans and Paul Vughts
January 7, 2022

The investigating judge ruled Friday that Mourad O. must remain locked up another three days on suspicion of preparing a “serious crime”. The detectives are still very busy trying to determine what precisely his aim was when he was noticeably following the armored car in which John van den Heuvel was being transported from Amsterdam in the direction of Utrecht. The incident is still surrounded in mystery.

The most recent conviction of Mourad O. was for the alleged robbery of a cannabis farm. Much farther back in time, he was sitting in an auto linked to a serious crime.

Mourad O. knows several peripheral players associated with Ridouan Taghi, but it is still not clear if he played any serious roles in that milieu.

He also has a legal company under his name in the Utrecht neighborhood of Ondiep. The company installs charging stations for electric vehicles. His friends say they cannot imagine that he would want to do anything to John van den Heuvel and think that he “was stupidly tailgating,” says an insider.

Because Mourad O. is “under restrictions” and can have no contact with the outside world, the Public Prosecutor is not answering questions. His attorney, Veerle Hammerstein, for the same reason, can say nothing.

*   Translator’s note: In the linked article 2020 article from Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch), the defendant is identified as Yassine A., a member of a gang of predominately Moroccan members.
 

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