70 people detained in international anti-drugs operation

Police in five countries including Belgium are carrying a large-scale operation against international drug gangs. The operation got under way on Wednesday and since then around 70 people have been detained. The operation is being led by two examining magistrates from the Walloon city of Tournai (Hainaut). More details will be given at a press conference due to be held at 4pm on Friday.  

The operation involves the police and judicial authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the UK. Since 6am on Wednesday dozens of properties have been searched. On Thursday evening 15 cannabis plantations were found each containing between 600 and 1,500 cannabis plants. Further suspects were detained on Friday morning.  

According to VRT News source the lion’s share of the operation in Belgium is being carried out in Hainaut Province. Searches have also been carried out in Herstal, Soumagne and Juprelle in Liège Province. In Flanders there have been searches in Affligem (Flemish Brabant) and Genk (Limburg Province).

The searches are being carried out with the support of Interpol as well as with the assistance of Greek and German police officers. The suspects are first being questioned by the police and based on these interviews will appear before examining magistrates in Tournai.

Some of those detained are reported to have links to the Albanian mafia. In Belgium the Aliens’ Office is also involved. On Thursday evening a dozen of the people detained were taken to a secure asylum facility awaiting deportation.