Belgian police arrest 30 people in nationwide drug operation

Belgian police arrest 30 people in nationwide drug operation
Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

Belgian police arrested 30 people on Wednesday as part of a nationwide operation into two drug gangs operating in Antwerp.

A total of 30 searches were carried out in the operation, not only in the Flemish city but also in Brussels.

The operation was the result of a year-long investigation into a restaurant in Antwerp, which authorities claim had been serving as a front for drug traffickers.

According to Antwerp’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, clients would come to the restaurant and purchase cocaine.  The establishment was frequented by “the criminal underworld known for burglary, arms trafficking, money laundering and drug dealing.”

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The investigation also revealed close ties between the suspected drug gangs and a Spanish national living in Flanders.

The Spaniard is said to have a network of accomplices, including workers at the port of Antwerp, to smuggle drugs into his home country. Spanish police are also investigating the suspect, with searches carried out in seven different locations on Wednesday morning.

This operation is the latest in a series of drug-related incidents in the city of Antwerp, whose port has made it a prime target for drug trafficking. In 2022 alone, a record 100 tonnes of cocaine had been seized by customs officers at the port of Antwerp.

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