Antwerp gang, controlled from Dubai, rounded up for cocaine trafficking and money laundering

A criminal organisation has been rounded up in Antwerp this week. The gang was allegedly responsible for smuggling and trafficking cocaine and laundering criminal money, police and judicial authorities announced at a press conference on Friday.

The gang was allegedly controlled from Dubai. There is talk of an estimated criminal fortune of about fifteen million euros, amassed in one and a half years. A small part of this sum, around 900.000 euros, is said to have been recovered in cash.

The investigation started, not for the first time, thanks to information gathered by hacking into encrypted messages through the Sky ECC service. "Initially, a financial facilitator came to light who provided services to a criminal organisation which we consider responsible for both the importing and further trafficking of cocaine", said Stéphanie Chomé of the Antwerp public prosecutor's office. "Further detective work uncovered the structure of the criminal organisation."

The searches also revealed so-called "anti-intelligence equipment", such as jammers and GPS trackers.

In 21 house searches, mainly in the district of Antwerp, four people were arrested on Tuesday. Three of them, thirty-somethings from Antwerp, have also been placed under further arrest by the investigating judge. According to the public prosecutor's office, they are the suspected leaders of the gang, including its financial arm.

The searches also revealed so-called "anti-intelligence equipment", such as jammers and GPS trackers, with which the gang is said to have tried to make things more difficult for police and customs services.





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