BELGA

Drugs trafficking trade "very hot" because of the corona crisis

Kristian Vanderwaeren of the Belgian customs department says that criminal gangs are speeding up the process of drugs trafficking as air traffic and other main means of transport are slowing down or coming to a standstill. This can be felt particularly in Belgium, at international hubs such as the airport and the main ports. 

The news was reported in today's edition of De Tijd.  This month, 1,133 kilograms of cocaine were intercepted in Belgium, while another 1,368 kilos that were underway were seized abroad.

"Recently, we have discovered hundreds of kilos of cocaine and heroin at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. This is really unprecedented. Normally these amounts are a lot smaller, and they are usually very well hidden. Now, the drugs had hardly been hidden."

Vanderwaeren sees a clear link with the corona crisis: "Drugs gangs have to adapt and are using every possibility to make as many profits as possible. The number of flights has plummeted. They used the last incoming flights in Europe to ship as much cocaine and heroin as possible. They also hope that the governments' attention will be drawn completely to the corona crisis."

Police have received information that drugs gangs in South America are preparing major transports to Europe by ship. Checks in the port of Antwerp, one of the hubs used by drugs dealers, will be stepped up.    

What we have seen at Brussels Airport lately, is really unprecedented