Alexandros Angelopoulos (photo above) was born in 1965 in Nea Pori, Greece. By the late 1980s, he was involved in smuggling cigarettes. He then switched to smuggling cocaine from South America to Europe using a network of traffickers spread throughout Europe in Greece, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Going by the nickname “Fat Man,” Angelopoulos now earned a new one: “The Greek Escobar.” He bought two football (soccer) clubs and owned various legitimate companies. Around 2002, he popped up on the DEA’s radar. When a ship, the Africa 1, was seized off the coast of Gibraltar loaded with 5500 kilos of cocaine, the DEA began actively hunting the drug baron.
Angelopoulos was believed to be the mastermind behind the cocaine shipment. The Africa 1 traveled under the flag of Belize and – with help from the DEA - was intercepted by Spanish police in June of 2004 around 100 kilometers from the Spanish coast after Greek authorities tipped them off.
The ship was alleged to have been bought by Angelopoulos in May of 2004. Its official routes would take it between Greece and Turkey, but while police were surveilling the ship, they saw it go off course to Brazil, where it was loaded with cocaine.
On August 30, 2004, Angelopoulos was arrested in a hotel near the airport of Stuttgart, Germany, and extradited to Greece. There, on November 9, 2005, the 40-year-old “Greek Escobar” stood trial in a court in Athens. On day one of his trial it became known that Greek police had been watching him since 1999.
The court found him guilty and, on December 22, 2005, sentenced him to life in prison for drug smuggling and money laundering. In 2011, his sentence was reduced to 22 years.
Though behind bars, rumors and allegations about Angelopoulos’ crimes kept coming in, as well as new charges. In 2013, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for laundering 36 million euro via a gambling company owned by the Greek state named OPAP. He was allowed to serve this sentence alongside his 22-year term. Better yet, in 2014, a court found that all of Angelopoulos’ seized possessions and money were to be returned to him.
A year later, in 2015, Angelopoulos was released from prison as part of an amnesty arrangement for notorious gangsters. However, shortly after his release, on September 22 he was arrested again. At age 51, Angelopoulos stood in court again, this time because the Greek supreme court had ruled that his trial had to be done over.
Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in.
Milko (a pseudonym) is a Dutchman who has studied organized crime in the Netherlands, its history, and its offshoots in foreign countries for over two decades. He is also very knowledgeable about crime in other European countries and is eager to share his information.
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