Dutch coffeeshop guru Nol Van Schaik is in France to face charges of hashish smuggling and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Van Schaik has made no secret of his escape from French authorities who tried to arrest him in 1989 at the Spanish-French border. He was involved in a Moroccan hash smuggling operation. When French agents tried to arrest him, he fought them off, ran away, and jumped over the edge of a cliff to escape (CC#29, Haarlem: hemp city central).
The French government previously tried to extradite Van Schaik from Holland, where his three highly-ranked Willie Wortels cannashops operate in the heritage town of Haarlem. The Dutch justice minister stopped the extradition. Van Schaik had since travelled openly and freely within Europe many times, especially to Spain (CC#47, Spanish stoner paradise).
But when Van Schaik flew to Spain in May 2004, the Spanish government was on heightened alert due to a royal wedding and terrorist attacks. Spanish officials had suspended some of the usual civil liberties, and imprisoned Van Schaik after they discovered the French warrant.
Van Schaik was held from mid-May until early July in a Spanish prison, then transferred to France, according to his spokespersons.
The Haarlem hempster, one of few Dutch coffeeshop owners who engages in marijuana activism, faces five to 10 years in prison.
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