12 arrested in Antwerp drug trafficking raids
Police arrested 12 suspects during 19 house searches in and around Antwerp on Wednesday morning as part of an investigation into drug and weapons trafficking.
The investigation was launched in 2022 with a focus on trafficking in firearms and explosives, said the Antwerp public prosecutor's office. Over time, it became clear that the targeted gang was also involved in drug smuggling and trafficking.
The targets were part of the Albanian criminal milieu, according to the prosecutor's office. International partners were involved in the mapping of the organisation.
Initially, six suspects were identified who were involved in arms and explosives trafficking. A 51-year-old man is said to be the key figure. The investigation also uncovered drug offences, with a 55-year-old man alleged to be the key figure in organising the import, export and trafficking of narcotics.
The 19 searches on Wednesday took place in Antwerp, Sint-Niklaas and Ans in Liège. In addition to the federal police, the operation was supported by the rapid response team of the Antwerp local police, customs and the ministry of Public Health.
The 12 suspects arrested will be brought before the investigating judge who will decide on their further detention.
#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS