EU Capital Rocked by Gang Wars and Record Cocaine Seizures

Gang wars shock EU capital as record amount of cocaine seized…

To receive real-time breaking news alerts delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to our breaking news emails.

The flow of cocaine and crack persists unabated, with shootings erupting among rival gangs in close proximity to the heart of Brussels. Despite the daily efforts of law enforcement to seize drugs and apprehend traffickers, the resilience of dealers persists, leaving the local population disillusioned and frustrated.

As Europe witnesses record quantities of cocaine interceptions, the scourge of drug-related violent crime becomes increasingly conspicuous within the capital of the European Union.

“We’re confronting mafia-like entities,” remarked Jean Spinette, mayor of the Saint-Gilles district, where a fatal shooting occurred early Wednesday following several days of clashes among drug traffickers.

EU Capital Rocked by Gang Wars and Record Cocaine Seizures
EU Capital Rocked by Gang Wars and Record Cocaine Seizures (Credits: City News Toronto)

One such shooting in Saint-Gilles transpired on Tuesday, a day marked by festivities preceding Lent, during which many schools are closed, allowing children to roam the streets.

These successive incidents have instilled alarm nationwide.

“We must continue investing in security,” asserted Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden during a press briefing on Thursday. “Recent events underscore the necessity of this investment.”

With Antwerp serving as the primary conduit for Latin American cocaine cartels into Europe, gang-related violence has long plagued the Belgian port city. Amidst a nationwide surge in drug consumption, authorities at the federal level warn of the rapid infiltration of trafficking networks into Belgian society.

The Brussels public prosecutor’s office routinely announces fresh arrests and significant seizures of narcotics and cash, underscoring the gravity with which such offenses are treated.

“The severity of these crimes is indisputable and is treated with utmost seriousness,” affirmed the prosecutor’s office.

The proliferation of crack cocaine and the brazen sale and use of drugs in central neighborhoods over the past year have exacerbated an already dire situation, resulting in commonplace occurrences of petty theft, altercations, and harassment of tourists in the country of 11.5 million inhabitants.

In 2023 alone, seven individuals lost their lives, and 131 sustained injuries in drug-related violence in Brussels, as reported by police figures cited in Le Soir newspaper. Last year, nearly a quarter of the federal police’s investigative resources were dedicated to drug-related cases nationwide, according to newly released data.

Spinette emphasized the urgent necessity for concerted action to combat criminal syndicates with transnational connections, particularly decrying the influence of mobsters hailing from Albania and the French city of Marseille in Brussels.

“I’m confident that law enforcement and the judicial system can effectively address this issue,” remarked Justice Minister Paul Van Tigchelt.

Last year, Brussels authorities apprehended an alleged drug kingpin from Marseille, who was the subject of two European arrest warrants, one of which stemmed from a 12-year prison sentence.

“This isn’t merely a localized street-level operation,” Spinette emphasized in an interview with the RTBF media network. He urged authorities to dismantle networks at the source and expedite criminal prosecutions to deter a pervasive sense of impunity.

Despite pockets of gentrification along upscale thoroughfares lined with boutiques, bars, and eateries, substantial segments of Saint-Gilles remain economically disadvantaged. Its central location renders it a convenient hub for drug dealers, earning it the moniker of a “drugs drive-in” among both residents and officials.

Spinette lamented that traffickers often return mere hours after a shooting, exacerbating residents’ frustrations.

“They feel as though nothing is being done,” Spinette lamented. “Dealers swiftly resume their operations, fostering a sense of complete impunity—a belief that they’re beyond the reach of law enforcement.”

Wednesday’s fatal shooting occurred in close proximity to a square frequented by drug users and dealers alike. Following police interventions last year aimed at cleansing Brussels Midi Station, a major rail hub, the Porte de Hal zone has witnessed an influx of drug users, disrupting the daily lives of residents and business owners.

“In the span of four to five months, the situation has deteriorated significantly,” remarked a local business owner who preferred to remain anonymous for safety reasons. “Just the other day, someone was injecting themselves near my shop. Another individual frequently shows up with a bloodied face. Many shop owners here have had their windows shattered. It’s intolerable.”

Hi, I'm Daz, pronounced "Daa-aa-z." I love to write content on gaming and stuff, but I can write on pretty much anything. You can reach me through my social handles or [email protected]