Macron launches “unprecedented” operation against drug trafficking in Marseille

(Marseille) French President Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday in Marseille (south) the launch of an “unprecedented operation” intended to “put a stop to drug trafficking” which has bloodied the country’s second city.

“In Marseille and other cities in France, it is an unprecedented operation that we have launched to put a stop to drug trafficking, ensure republican order, and clear the air”, a- he writes on the X network.

His surprise visit comes two weeks after the cry of alarm from Marseille magistrates demanding a “Marshall plan” to save the Marseille city from the drug trafficking which is plaguing it.

Mr. Macron began his trip to the city of Castellane, in the north of Marseille, for a “first operation “Place Net XXL””, which with the other objectives which will follow will mobilize very large numbers of police for several weeks .

“There was a very big operation yesterday (Monday), which will last several weeks throughout Marseille,” he said in the presence of the Ministers of the Interior Gérald Darmanin and of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti. “The goal is to try to destroy the networks and the traffickers and for the few who make your life impossible to leave. »

The territorial war for control of lucrative points of sale has bloodied the Marseille city like never before in 2023, with 49 people killed, including four collateral victims, and 123 people injured.

If since the start of the year, a certain lull seems to be taking shape, after numerous arrests, “it could start again, we have small beginnings”, warned Marseille public prosecutor Nicolas Bessone on Tuesday.

“The idea is to have a situation that is clearly cleaned up and to have a very strong impact in the coming weeks,” declared, alongside the head of state, the new police prefect of Bouches-du -Rhône, Pierre-Edouard Colliex. “My roadmap today is clear: drugs, drugs, more drugs,” he announced when he took office at the beginning of March.

During this first day of operation, 80 arrests took place and 140,000 euros seized, according to an official source. From a source close to the matter, 4,000 police officers and gendarmes will be mobilized per week in Marseille and the surrounding communities, for three weeks in total.

“Trench warfare”

“Before, the police, they came once or twice a day, now they are there all the time, for the “shit” they did a good job. As a trader, this is good news, there are people who did not dare come to the neighborhood,” said Youssouf Issilamou, 32, a Comorian employee of a halal butcher shop in the city where he lives.

Olivier Leurent, the president of the Marseille judicial court, called at the beginning of the month for the “establishment of a Marshall plan” to fight criminals with “a considerable strike force in terms of financial, human, technological”.

“Narcobanditism acts in Marseille as a sort of gangrene which damages the social fabric,” he added before the Senate commission of inquiry dedicated to the fight against drug trafficking in France, judging that the State seemed to be carrying out a “ asymmetric war against drug banditry.

“We are losing the war against traffickers in Marseille,” said alarmed Isabelle Fort, head of the “organized crime” department of the city’s public prosecutor’s office.

What is happening in Marseille only foreshadows the evolution of drug trafficking “which we also observe everywhere on the national territory: the rejuvenation of little hands, an increased recourse to violence, kidnappings, homicides, the movement of traffic from urban to rural”, summarized Jérôme Durain, the president of the commission of inquiry.

Emmanuel Macron’s visit comes as several raids have recently taken place within the two main gangs, DZ Mafia and Yoda, who are vying for control of drug trafficking in France’s second city. Félix Bingui, 33, alias “the cat”, the alleged leader of the “Yoda” clan, was arrested in Morocco at the beginning of March.


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