Photo: Belgian FBI

1.6 tons of drugs seized in major swoop

In a large-scale operation against drug-trafficking police raided 23 premises across Belgium on Monday morning.  Twenty-seven suspects were detained.  Police seized 80,000 euros, five Kalashnikov rifles and over 1.6 tons in drugs. Information gleaned from intercepted messaging conducted using encrypted Sky ECC telephones allowed this operation to proceed.

It was 5AM on Monday morning when over 300 police officers raided 23 premises.  The police received the support of specialised units as well as members of the armed forces.  Most of the locations targeted were in Liege Province, but premises in Limburg and East Flanders were raided too.

Several warrants had been issued against one of the twenty-seven people arrested.  In Strée (Liege Province) a cocaine lab was dismantled.

In all, over 1.6 tons of drugs were seized including 580 kilos of cocaine.  The drugs have a street value of over 80 million euros. Ten weapons were impounded including five Kalashnikovs as well as over 80,000 euros in cash, dozens of vehicles, several telephones and even a couple of horses.

Photo: Belgian FBI

Prosecutors say they encountered several Columbians at various drug labs.

The operation was co-ordinated with Spanish police, who detained one suspect and raided two premises.

Prosecutors are linking Monday’s operation to Operation Sky.  For several years Belgian police were able to read encrypted messaging conducted by suspected drug traffickers using Sky ECC telephones.  Operation Sky triggered a series of raids and arrests in March.  Those arrested included lawyers, an official at the public prosecutor’s office as well as one detective.

The criminal outfit dismantled today is held responsible for trafficking 15 tons of cocaine through Belgium.

Photo: Belgian FBI
Photo: Belgian FBI

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