Santa Claus – Today, the 72-year-old drug baron Robbie van L. (image) has to appear in court. L., also known as “Grandpa” or “Santa”, is suspected of smuggling 1600 kilograms of cocaine from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
The name of Robbie van L. is often mentioned in one breath with those of other major drug dealers, such as Peter van D. and “fat” Billy P. Van L., who started as a safecracker for, had been in prison for years for several drug-related offenses. According to local newspaper De Limburger, Van L. is also called “Santa” because of his white hair and beard.
“Santa Claus” was arrested in October 2013 on Bonaire where he officially lives. His arrest four years ago was part of a major action against organized crime. During this raid, soldiers and money and drug dogs were deployed. Van L. was not the only one who was arrested; nine other suspects were arrested. During searches, huge amounts of cash were found and weapons and drugs were seized. At of the suspects houses, five luxury passenger cars were dragged away. In a house in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, detectives found 245 kilograms of amphetamine paste, 55 liters amphetamine oil and 30 kilograms of XTC, worth a total of 6 million euros.
The operation was the final piece of two major investigations into drug production and import. In the province of Limburg, the investigation named “Wolf” was conducted. In North Brabant the investigation named “Beretta” was active. When it became clear that the main suspects in Limburg and Brabant did business with each other, the investigations were combined.
The provisional detention of “Santa” came to an end nine months after his arrest in October of 2013. The Public Prosecutor wants him and some of his fellow co-workers back in prison. The lawyers are trying to fight against that.
The justice system now brings together 21 suspects of the criminal organization before the court in three groups. For the first group, fourteen days have been reserved between today and 6 December. The second part starts in January. The court will make its decision in all cases on March 29th of 2018.