04/14/2024

Some Crim

Track the Untold Stories

Excerpt of the sentencing document of Brian Blue
Extracto del documento de sentencia de Brian Blue

The Surinamese Cocaine Trafficker Endlessly Evading Justice

Surinamese drug trafficker Brian Blue remains at large months right after Insight Crime exposed his suspected ties to the country’s vice president, showcasing his means to stay off the radar of Surinamese authorities inspite of his soaring intercontinental profile.

3 months just after Perception Crime unveiled that a US Drug Enforcement Administration exclusive agent suspected that Surinames Vice President Ronnie Brunswijk had intervened in an August 2020 drug bust joined to Blue, Suriname authorities have not declared any investigation into the trafficker. 

SEE ALSO: Suriname VP, Ex-President Linked to Drug Trafficking in Colombia AG E-mail

Two Surinamese officers instructed Insight Crime that Blue carries on his business enterprise as common in the Suriname drug trade. 

Surinames Attorney Generals Workplace (Openbaar Ministerie – OM) and Police Drive (Korps Politie Suriname – KPS) did not react to Insight Criminal offense inquiries about the circumstance. Insight Criminal offense was unable to call Blue, who does not sustain a general public or on the internet presence. A lawyer who had represented him did not react prior to the publication day.

Suriname, South America’s smallest state, has long been an essential corridor for transporting cocaine to Europe and other pieces of the world. In February 2024, Spanish customs seized 8 tons in a container that had been exported from the port of Paramaribo, Surinames cash. In March, authorities in Suriname located more than 500 kilograms in an plane about to get off to the Netherlands, and around two tons of cocaine in an clear stashing spot in a rural spot.

Who Is Brian Blue?

For many years, Blue has performed a crucial purpose in the trade. He was convicted of drug trafficking in Brazil, is the topic of an Interpol Pink Notice, and his name has appeared in quite a few global drug trafficking investigations.

Authorities in Suriname briefly investigated Blue about a ten years back. But given that then, his skill to stay away from regulation enforcement scrutiny in Suriname has grow to be a defining feature of a job that illustrates how prevalent corruption can safeguard discovered traffickers. 

Blues involvement in the drug trade dates back again to the 1990s, when he commenced functioning under Dutch-Surinamese cocaine trafficker Piet Wortel, in accordance to a high-stage Surinamese protection formal who investigated Blue and who questioned for anonymity out of concern of retribution from Blue and Brunswijk. According to his lawyer, Piet Wortel has hardly ever experienced any direct or indirect relation to Brian Blue.

Around 2002, law enforcement arrested him and two other individuals allegedly near to Wortel right after acquiring a idea about a drug plane in the Tibiti location in Surinames broad jungle. Law enforcement did not locate the prescription drugs, but they did uncover firearms, boats, gasoline, and satellite phones that designed them suspect it was a drug situation. The suspects were being permit go owing to a absence of evidence, the stability formal stated. 

In the same time period, Blue also led drug trafficking operations in Suriname for a transnational drug trafficking community exporting cocaine from Colombia to Europe by means of Venezuela and Brazil, according to a Brazilian court sentence.  The sentence also stated he commonly traveled to Brazil to settle the facts of trafficking operations with his associates. 

The plan finished in 2005 when Brazilian authorities seized two shipments totaling 550 kilograms of cocaine and arrested Blues Brazilian associates. Convictions adopted in 2010, and Blue, who was under no circumstances arrested, was sentenced in absentia to 21 a long time in jail. At some level in the subsequent many years, he was also place on the Interpol Red Observe record. 

An Growing Network

Blues conviction in Brazil apparently did little to sever his ties to the drug small business. 

In 2010, former dictator Desi Bouterse returned to electricity as Surinames president. At the exact time, the Suriname Law enforcement Power (Korps Politie Suriname – KPS) appeared to lose curiosity in Blues pursuits, according to August van Gobbel, a previous law enforcement commissioner who headed the KPS intelligence bureau and afterwards the critical crimes office in the course of individuals several years. 

Between 2010 and 2020 he was not on the radar of the intelligence division of the law enforcement, he said. 

Van Gobbel extra that he did not recall Blue possessing an Interpol Red See at that time. Interpol does not always publish its purple notices, so it can be hard to observe. 

Nonetheless, international law enforcement saved regularly connecting Blue to the cocaine trade.

In 2012, Dutch law enforcement tapped the cellular phone of Blues alleged 1990s ally, Piet Wortel, as section of a prison investigation. In the recorded dialogue, Wortel described one of Blues nicknames, Beppie, in relation to a plane with 400 kilograms of cocaine that experienced damaged down in the Tibiti region of Surinames jungle. 

Wortel also stated he questioned Bouta and Dino for aid with the cargo. Police believed Wortel was referring to Desi Bouterse, who had been convicted of cocaine trafficking in absentia in the Netherlands in 1999, and his son, Dino, who was later convicted of cocaine trafficking in the United States in 2015, wherever he is continue to in prison.

Bouterses intervention in the 2012 incident saved the stranded cocaine, right after which the then-president gained half of the load, Wortel mentioned in the recorded discussion. Law enforcement did not get any stories about stranded drug planes in Tibiti in that period, in accordance to a KPS spokesperson interviewed by media outlet de Ware Tijd. 

Various a long time later, Brazilian investigators linked Blue to drug trafficking during 2017 and 2018. This time, law enforcement suspected Blue was an necessary get hold of in Suriname for some of Brazil’s major cocaine traffickers, including Luiz Carlos da Rocha, alias Cabea Branca.

Excerpt from a Brazilian police report as part of the investigation into Cabea Branca
Extracto de un informe de la polica brasilea en el marco de la investigacin sobre Cabea Branca

Brazilian authorities dismantled a lot of the Brazilian part of the community.  Inspite of strong suspicions that Blue was the Surinamese trafficker referred to as Magro in taped discussions, the Brazilian investigators did not convey costs against him.

SEE ALSO: Inside of the Seize of Cabea Branca, the Baron of Brazils Drug Trade

“We could not get adequate affirmation to take him to court even though we are extremely certain that it was him,” a Brazilian federal law enforcement investigator who worked on the circumstance but wished to continue being nameless advised Insight Criminal offense. 

Whilst investigating Blue, Brazilian investigators attempted to collaborate with Surinamese authorities, but this method backfired. In intercepted conversations, the Brazilians listened to the traffickers chatting about confidential information and facts from the investigation they had shared with the KPS.

Brazilian law enforcement also overheard traffickers boasting about their safety in Suriname. 

Right here we rule 50 percent the land… The other fifty percent is in our pocket, a Brazilian trafficker stated in a taped cellphone call.

Still at Large

The arc of Blues career suggests his potential to escape justice relies upon mainly on his influence and contacts within the Surinamese government. 

Blue undoubtedly has numerous corrupt police officers in his pocket, a Surinamese regulation enforcement formal, who wished to remain anonymous, told Perception Crime.

Even after President Chandrikapersad Santokhi entered business in July 2020, replacing Bouterse, Blue has managed to steer clear of remaining qualified by authorities. 

Santokhi had a standing as a criminal offense fighter from his time period as Surinames chief of police, boasting successes that integrated the arrests of significant drug traffickers these as Guyanese Roger Khan. But Santokhis Vice President Ronnie Brunswijks ties to the drug trade are very well-documented and longstanding. In 1999, he was sentenced for cocaine trafficking in the Netherlands and in France. As recently as February 2024, a law enforcement officer who experienced also been his bodyguard was convicted for drug trafficking. 

Blue seems to have benefitted from a partnership with Brunswijk. 

Just months soon after Brunswijk and Santohkhi entered business office, in August 2020, DEA investigators shared facts with Colombian counterparts about an incident days earlier in which they suspected Brunswijk had intervened to retrieve a seized cocaine load. The large-level Surinamese security official verified the account to Insight Crime. The investigator said Blue owned the load and paid out Brunswijk for the intervention.

The text of the email a DEA special agent sent to the Colombian Attorneys General on August 25, 2020.
El texto del correo electrnico que un agente especial de la DEA envi a la Fiscala General de Colombia el 25 de agosto de 2020.

When Perception Crime uncovered this in November 2023, the tale produced headlines in Suriname for weeks and spurred Brunswijk to difficulty community denials and threats to sue Perception Criminal offense. But the revelations came as little shock to a lot of in Suriname, as it was considerably from the first time that top political leaders had been tied to the drug trade. 

The govt is not likely to want an investigation into Blue, which could destruction the by now fragile partnership concerning Brunswijk and Santokhi, who have minimal in typical aside from a want for each other’s support to hold the governing coalition alive. 

Community discontent with a seemingly untouchable elite has been more strengthened by financial hardship in the aftermath of Surinames 2020 economic crisis, while achievable social financial commitment financed with substantial projected oil profits is even now several years absent.  

The bottom line is that Suriname is in the middle of sorting out its foreseeable future, community discontent is large, and a young generation is increasingly discouraged by what they see as the corrupt nature of the state and government, Scott MacDonald, founding director of the Caribbean Plan Consortium, explained to Perception Criminal offense.

Blues verified ties to the drug trade and achievable connection to Brunswijk exhibit an unwillingness to tackle potent prison players and large-level corruption. 

The situation of Brian Blue, with alleged ties to the vice president, only reinforces a unfavorable general public notion. If absolutely nothing else, the optics could not be even worse, MacDonald explained.

*This posting was up-to-date with a reaction from Piet Wortels lawyer.

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