Cocaine, Murder, & Dirty Money in Europe

This is Europe today

It just might be the world's next narco state.

The Betrayal, a GATEWAY Story

Over the past decade, the historic European ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp have turned into global gateways for cocaine. Think Miami in 1980s – but with even more drugs and shittier weather.

In this six-part podcast series from Project Brazen, host Mitchell Prothero explores Europe’s cocaine crisis through the dramatic stories of cartel leaders, cops, journalists, and the victims caught in the middle. From RPG attacks on newspaper offices to the slaughter of entire families, the war on drugs has arrived on Europe’s shores. And a lot of people are making a lot of dirty money.

Mitchell Prothero

A two-time Baghdad bureau chief, he closely covered the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the rise of the Islamic State. In 2016, he was awarded the Michael Hastings National Security Fellowship for work on jihadist militants in Europe by BuzzFeed News. Mitchell Prothero currently covers crime and intelligence for VICE News in Europe. GATEWAY is his debut podcast series.

Mitchell Prothero

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Ridouan Taghi

The Man For Whom the Underworld Shivers

After the killing of a billionaire kingpin, one man rises to the top of a new generation of ruthless drug lords running Europe’s cocaine empire. His name is Ridouan Taghi. Taghi’s rise, and his incredible fall, shows the power of cocaine to generate staggering wealth, and shocking violence.

Noffel Fassih

The Belly, the Boss of Bosses

While Ridouan Taghi grows his empire, Noffel Fassih, aka The Belly, does his dirty work as a global hitman. But two botched killings threaten to bring his operations to an end. Meanwhile, Taghi finds a new home where authorities are more likely to turn a blind eye…he moves to Dubai.

Martin Kok

Bomb, Bomb, Bomberoni

A twice-convicted murderer, Martin Kok is also one of The Netherland’s most popular crime bloggers. But he goes too far when he publishes Ridouan Taghi’s name. Soon, Taghi’s violence begins to spread far beyond the underworld.

Nabil B

The Crown Witness

After a killing goes horribly wrong, Nabil B, one of Ridouan Taghi’s close associates, finds himself torn between family and Taghi. Fearing for his life, Nabil B makes a fateful choice. He walks into a Dutch police station and unspools Taghi’s secrets. Another mistaken killing leads to Taghi’s arrest in Dubai and he ends up where he began so many years before—in The Netherlands. He becomes the star defendant in the largest criminal trial in Dutch history. The crown witness for the government is Taghi’s close associate, Nabil B.

Peter R De Vries

On Bended Knee is No Way to be Free

Dutch TV journalist Peter R De Vries is famous for cracking the criminal cases that no one else can. But with Ridouan Taghi, Peter meets his match. When Peter joins crown witness Nabil B’s legal team, he crosses a line that Taghi can’t accept.


Into the Bunker

Gateway host Mitchell Prothero visits “The Bunker” where Taghi is the star defendant in the largest criminal trial in Dutch history. As Taghi faces justice, his impact spreads far beyond the courtroom. Who will be the next kingpin to replace him?

What stories from the hidden world of cocaine should we tell next? Do you have a story you’d like to share?

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