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Wydad president, dozen others arrested amid ‘escobar of the desert’ drug trafficking scandal

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The investigating judge at the Casablanca Court of Appeal has ordered the detention of Said Naciri, president of Wydad Casablanca Club and Abdennabi Biioui, President of the Oriental Regional Council among others for an international drug trafficking case involving well-known drug dealer referred to as the “Escobar of the Desert.”

The two, among others, are to be closely monitored in a state of detention in a case of international drug trafficking, forgery, money laundering, and abuse of power.

The judge ordered the arrest of two police brigades, two gendarmes, a female notary, a fashion designer, an employee, a businessman, and a foreign-based employee in the Casablanca prison as part of the same case.

19 other individuals were summoned to appear before the Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Casablanca Appeals Court.

A total of 25 people, including former parliamentarian Belkacem Mir of the Authenticity and Modernity Party, as well as businessmen, a fashion designer, company executives, merchants, a notary, security personnel, and public service members, underwent extensive questioning on Thursday.

In a decision issued early Friday morning, the Public Prosecution recommended detaining 20 people for further investigation and urged deeper scrutiny of four others.

Since Thursday, the Court of Appeal in Casablanca saw heightened security measures with the presence of the National Judicial Police Division and security vehicles allocated for transporting the suspects.

The scandal erupted after the international drug dealer known as the “Escobar of the Desert,” initially held in Al Jadida prison before transfer to Casablanca prison, accused a group of individuals of seizing his real estate properties.

Of Moroccan origin, ‘the Malian’ or ‘Escobar of the desert’ has become one of the biggest drug lords in Africa. He has been incarcerated since 2019.

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