The federal judicial police in East Flanders have dismantled a network suspected of producing and selling illegal drugs.
Five searches were conducted on Tuesday and seven people were held for questioning. An investigating judge issued arrest warrants for five of the seven, including a man who ran the network from a prison cell.
The Office of the Public Prosecutor of Eastern Flanders had designated the judge in October to conduct an investigation into the production of amphetamines and drug trafficking in the province.
Investigators succeeded in pinpointing a gang operating in the Aalst area.
Searches were conducted on Tuesday at suspects’ homes as well as the Dendermonde prison, and the seven suspects were held for questioning, including one of the heads of the network, a 43-year-old woman from Nieuwerkerken.
She was in contact with her 50-year old husband, who had been jailed on drug charges, but still managed to issue his instructions from prison.
The couple was assisted by three persons in the sixties from Denderhoutem, Aalst and Lokeren. A 26-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman, both from Haaltert, were also hauled in for questioning.
Five of the suspects remain in prison while the two others were granted conditional releases.
During the searches, material for preparing amphetamines was found, along with some four kg of speed, 4,000 euros, a hunting rifle, a brass knuckle and a club.