War hero claims he received threats

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Captain Marco Kroon, the Dutch war hero accused of trafficking in drugs and weapons, says he has been receiving threatening letters since he was decorated for bravery last year.

In May 2009, he became the first person since 1955 to be awarded the Militaire Willemsorde (Military Order of William), the oldest and highest Dutch award for valour. He received the medal for leading his platoon in bold and successful actions against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2006.

On Friday and Saturday he and his girlfriend were interviewed in connection with drug and weapons offences following accusations by anonymous police informants.

Regional newspaper Het Brabants Dagblad reports that police have been watching Marco Kroon since October in connection with cocaine allegedly supplied to soldiers and to customers at Vinny's, the bar he runs in the southern Dutch town of Den Bosch. He told the newspaper “If anyone is against drugs, I am. I know drugs used to be sold in this bar but I got rid of those creeps.”

Captain Kroon's lawyer says his client did not take the threatening letters seriously at the time but now thinks they may have come from the same source as the anonymous accusations. He believes there are those who resent the fact that he received the award. The letters apparently included the phrase “from hero to zero”. He intends to hand them over to the Public Prosecutor's office.

Under military law, Marco Kroon will lose his medal if he is given a prison sentence of one year or more.

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