Police in East Flanders seized more than 100 motor vehicles on Tuesday in raids carried out in connection with the investigation into an international drugs traffic.
The raids took place in Brakel, Geraardsbergen, Herzele and Lierde, starting at 04.00 on Tuesday morning. In the end, six people were in custody and police had seized 37 cars and 87 motorcycles.
One of the men arrested is a 51-year-old businessman who made the news in 2017 when he was the victim of a grenade attack.
The raids began in Brakel with police using a battering ram to open a door, and a chainsaw to cut through a garage door. Police also called on the Disaster Victim Identification unit for specialised equipment to search the garden for hiding places for large amounts of cash. The equipment is normally used to search for the victims of earthquakes, or for suspected dead bodies in murder cases.
The 2017 attack on the house caused no injuries, but damaged vehicles on the street and the windows of the house opposite. A man was later caught and sent to prison for five years.
In all, raids took place at eight premises, including a bicycle shop which was emptied.
“The searches led to the seizure of 37 cars, including luxury and vintage cars, 87 motorcycles, mostly Ducatis, and other valuables,” said chief superintendent Patrick Willocx. “In addition, a large sum of cash was confiscated. During the action, six suspects were arrested and taken for questioning.”
The main suspect, Lorenzo V.M., is the owner of both the house and the bicycle shop, and is suspected by police of being a key figure in an international drugs trafficking ring.