Kevin Hansen: A ton of cocaine, prison and a goal against Kahn

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For allegedly involved in a massive cocaine scandal, ex-talent Kevin Hansen was jailed. How could that happen?

In the early morning of April 12, 2010, Kevin Hansen was awakened by something that sounds like a loud hammer blow in his Hamburg apartment. He wakes up, still completely foggy from the deep sleep that he had been firmly in control of lately. He hears the screams of men. “Hands up!” someone shouts. The door flies open and eight elite MEK police officers stand in front of the 30-year-old’s bed, their guns at the ready, the visors of their helmets down.

“That was the worst day of my life,” he told eleven friends, three years after the day he was handcuffed, taken away and taken to a Hamburg prison. It was the day when Hansen’s unhappy life finally collapsed. The day he swerved far too quickly after being threatened for a while.

Hansen was accused of being deeply involved in the biggest drug scandal in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. More than 1.3 tons of cocaine was found in a container ship in the port of Hamburg, hidden in wooden bricks made of sawdust and small pieces of wood. Since 2009, the search for drugs has been on the heels of a seven-member gang that planned the deal of their lives and wanted to smuggle coke worth 40 million euros from Paraguay to Germany and then across the border to the Netherlands.

The tabloids outdid themselves with sensational headlines and the authorities celebrated their spectacular success. After a few months of listening to every call, they struck with more than 200 men in about ten different locations. They seized not only the drugs, but also weapons, money and evidence. Everyone allegedly involved has been arrested. Among them: Kevin Hansen, formerly one of the biggest talents of his year, nine Bundesliga appearances.

Kevin Hansen scores in first game against Bayern and Kahn

But from the start. He was born in Hamburg in August 1979. With his parents he attended the matches in the Volksparkstadion, his favorite player was Thomas Doll. In his spare time, like his idols, he trained hard with the diamond on his jersey. It was clear early on that there was a special man in Hamburg. His shot in particular was excellent in the beginning. He regularly met each other from a distance, also in the D-youth.

He was hired by Hansa Rostock and won the championship with the 2nd team. His reputation as a great technician, elegant playmaker and tough ranged shooter preceded him. At the age of 21, he was in the professional selection on the 34th match day against the great FC Bayern. In the 70th minute he was substituted by Armin Veh. Twelve minutes later the ball fell at his feet in the Munich penalty area. He didn’t think long, but insisted. In his first Bundesliga game, he defeated Oliver Kahn! After the game, all three of them wept with happiness: Hansen himself and his parents.

The world lay at his feet. That’s what he thought then, like you do as a very young fellow. And Hansa was delighted to have an exceptional footballer in his own ranks. “Not many in the Bundesliga have such great shooting technique as Kevin,” said Veh, and even today former team-mates report how he slipped the free kicks into the goal in training, the mainstay as in David Beckham’s leaning position. He was good at making heavy things look easy. He took a run-up, swung his leg, and moments later the ball and target made a loud noise.

One moment everything changes

His only eight appearances in Beletage, Germany, and never a goal, was due to that accident in February 2003. He ended up on frozen ground after climbing to the ball. It creaked so loudly that everyone could hear it. The devastating diagnosis: broken ankle!

Hansen tried everything for the pain. He was operated on ten times and flew to Basel to become one of the best in his field. He made a few appearances in the second and third divisions for Rostock and Aue, but the years of pain exhausted him. In 2008 nothing worked. The ankle caused problems again, he was tired – and sports handicapped. At the age of 28, he ended his career and returned to Hamburg.

He kept kicking a bit of an amateur. But he was not challenged there. He was unhappy with the years of bad luck and pain that darkened his mind everywhere. He went to parties, met the wrong people – and met an old friend.

Millions in Hansen’s apartment

Costa F. had a sunny character. Hansen knew him from his childhood in Billstedt. In the circle of friends they knew that he had a criminal past. “We thought time was up,” Hansen told 11 friends. Costa, the former acquaintance, became his friend. They went out to party, watched movies all night. He was happy for the first time in a long time. And he trusted Costa. So much so that he gave him a key to his apartment because he lived a bit outside of Hamburg.

At one point, Costa said he had left a bag full of money in the apartment. “That was a million dollars,” Hansen says. He claimed he didn’t know the background to the money in his apartment, that Costa told him that if things went wrong, they would keep him out. “I was naive,” admits Hansen.

In April 2010, one cold morning, Kevin Hansen’s life as he knew it ended. A mobile task force stormed his apartment, found the money that, as it later became known, was both the loot from previous stores and the means of payment for the planned megacoup. He was questioned. The detectives soon offered him the opportunity to testify and get mitigation. They soon realized that Hansen was not the mastermind.

He was put in solitary confinement while reporters visited outside his parents’ house, and parts of the tabloid press turned him into a mastermind. Ex-footballer, main culprit in the biggest drug discovery on German soil of all time, now sells better. He says, “Why should I have participated in the first place? I had no money worries.” In fact, he would have received about 3,000 euros in disability benefits.

Cartel operator or victim?

It remains unclear to this day exactly what role he played. SPIEGEL calls him the “drug cartel money manager”. He himself claims to have been a victim of unfortunate circumstances.

The press and detectives alike are puzzled about how Hansen, who grew up sheltered and lived a petit-bourgeois life, became entangled in a spectacular smuggling scene. And the question marks about the gang, dubbed “Los Paraguayos” in investigative circles, are no smaller than those about Kevin Hansen. How did the transformation of some petty criminals, who were private friends, turn into criminals?

“Kevin not only has a soft core, but also a very soft shell,” one of Hansen’s closest friends told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He must have started something that he quickly lost all control over.

In February 2011, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The sentence is only so mild because he cooperated with the authorities, after all, he is involved in the largest drug deal in Germany. Ultimately, the Public Prosecution Service will not relieve him of his complete ignorance. The final motivation of the verdict: complicity in drug trafficking.

April 12 will always remain

Hansen has been at large since the end of 2012. He is still playing in the district league at the age of 37. He’s back at work. As a tax official, just like before the stay in prison. It has become quiet around him. Today he is happy that he survived the nightmare. He is no longer as naive as he was then.

Kevin Hansen’s story shows how fast things can sometimes go in life, how often wrong decisions can have devastating consequences. It shows how tough the football industry is, where injuries often lead to martyrdom, where after years of fighting for the big dream it is no longer necessary.

April 12, 2010 is approaching, Hansen will never forget this day. He paid for his mistakes, is a different person today. He rarely forgets what happened then. Then he is standing on a football field, somewhere in the province of Hamburg.

He then takes a run-up, swings his leg and moments later the ball and goal net merge into a dull sound in the blink of an eye. All that matters for a very short time is that innocent goal that he has known from childhood. And all goes well until the moment is over and the earth continues to spin.

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