In addition to the twenty arrests three luxury cars, 28 expensive watches, 4 firearms and 36,000 euros in cash were seized.
The traffickers are suspected of trafficking over 800 kg of cocaine via the port of Antwerp.
“An unusual incident triggered the investigation” explains Kristof Aerts of Antwerp prosecutors. “When the gang was unloading a shipment of drugs last summer, they threatened a fire officer working for the port company. Several people attacked the officer, and he was only able to escape by jumping into the dock”.
The fire officer was able to hide and sound the alarm with the help of a ship’s crew. When maritime police approached the container, the gangsters succeeded in absconding.
A breakthrough in the investigation into encrypted messages sent via Sky ECC telephones allowed police to map out the entire network.
Those arrested are aged between 21 and 48. An international arrest warrant has been issued against four other suspects in the hope of tracking them down.