More than 1,500 police officers have been conducting house searches in more than 200 places since 5:00 AM this morning in one of Belgium’s biggest crackdowns on drug trafficking to date.
The operation is said to have been two years in the making, and while police aren’t expected to give any official details until Wednesday, there have been “many arrests” according to De Standaard.
While searches are taking place all across the country, the majority of them are concentrated in the Antwerp region. In many cases, special forces were sent into homes before investigators from the federal judicial police were able to follow and begin their search.
The operation is targeting organised crime, including not only drug traffickers themselves but also informants, money launderers, and people who have accepted bribes in exchange for providing services to criminals. There are said to be international implications, as well.
Police investigators say this is one of the largest operations of its kind to have been conducted in Belgium.
Update: In a press conference by Belgium’s federal public prosector’s office on Tuesday afternoon, authorities stated that 17 tonnes of cocaine and €1.2 million were seized, and that 48 suspects were arrested. Click here for the latest info.
The Brussels Times