An 86-year-old German arrested in Brussels for smuggling heroin in May 2021 skipped his bail and failed to show up in court. While it remains unclear how much heroin the man smuggled, he was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
This wasn't the first time that a grandparent has fallen foul of the law for drug offences. A similar case concerns a 54-year-old Tanzanian who was caught smuggling 5 kg of heroin in Brussels. The man claimed he hoped to use the money to pay for his granddaughter’s kidney dialysis. He was also sentenced to 36 months in prison.
Antwerp councillor Jinnih Beels spoke out about the need to liberalise Belgium's laws on hard narcotics to tackle the country's drug problem just three weeks ago, saying that century-old legislation needs to be updated to better regulate the use of drugs.
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Back in 2019, Belgium was deemed Europe’s drug market hub, as the availability of narcotics had reached an “all-time high” on the continent. A major Brussels drug gang was busted at the end of 2021, as Belgian police arrested 27 suspects and seized 1.6 tonnes of narcotics.