'Cobra' held a month after early release

14th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

14 November 2003, AMSTERDAM — A jailed drugs baron who was granted early release in October to help ease overcrowding in the Dutch prison system has been arrested again in Spain and faces extradition to the US in relation to alleged drugs money links.

14 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — A jailed drugs baron who was granted early release in October to help ease overcrowding in the Dutch prison system has been arrested again in Spain and faces extradition to the US in relation to alleged drugs money links.

Henk Orlando Rommy — nicknamed the Zwarte Cobra or Black Cobra — from Utrecht was picked up by Spanish police in Malaga in relation to an investigation in New York into the laundering of drugs money, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Friday.

His lawyer, Mark Teurlings, said he got news on Friday of the arrest, but claimed his client was totally surprised as he had no connection with the case in the US.

Suriname-born Rommy has released from a Dutch jail in early October from a 12-month prison sentence he received on charges relating to the smuggling of 1,000kg of hash from Spain.

He had been arrested in this case in April and sentenced in July. With standard remission his prison term was to officially expire on 9 December this year. But he benefited from an early release due to the shortage of cells in the prison system.

Questions were raised about his early release when it became public knowledge on 3 October. Lawyer Teurlings told newspaper De Volkskrant: "I knew about the cell shortage and began to ring around. Initially I was greeted with amusement. It was not so easy and the first reaction was that [the release programme] did not apply to someone like Rommy".

Eventually, however, police and justice officials did not object to his early release and he was freed.

Rommy has served previous jail terms, one of which was for a botched attempt to smuggle cocaine and cannabis into the British port of Dover in 1998.

He was extradited from Spain to face trial in the Netherlands in that case. His son, 25, and 10 other suspects received jail terms of up to nine years in Britain on smuggling charges.

Rommy has also been linked by the media to, but not convicted, of other violent gangland crimes.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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