British gang used Airbnb properties to store cocaine

Detectives from the Antwerp division of the Federal Judicial Police have apprehended six British nationals on suspicion of involvement in large-scale international drug trafficking. The gang rented properties thought Airbnb and Booking.com that it used as temporary bases for its criminal activities and for the storage of narcotics. More half a tonne of cocaine was seized during the police operation. 

On the orders of an Examening Magistrate, the Federal Judicial Police searched several properties during the past week. 580 kilogrammes of cocaine were found at a property that was being rented by the gang at Kalmthout in Antwerp Province. Elsewhere, detectives found suitcases containing 98 packets of cocaine at a flat in the East Flemish city of Sint-Niklaas.

The Antwerp Judicial Authorities’ Spokesman Kristof Aerts told journalists that "At this stage in the investigation it would appear that a group of British criminals was going to trade a large consignment of cocaine. The drugs are believed to have been smuggled in through Antwerp docks. What is striking is that they used properties that are let out via Airbnb or Booking.com. The properties were used as temporary bases and as storage facilities for consignments of cocaine”.

Six British men from the London area aged between 25 and 43 have been arrested. They are currently in custody. Magistrates placed 5 of the suspects on remand at a hearing on Friday. The 6th suspect will face a custody hearing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the criminal investigation into the gang’s activities continues. 

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