Belgium holds 60 in sweep against Albanian gangsters
Police have detained more than 60 suspects and seized thousands of cannabis plants in a major operation against Albanian gangsters spanning Belgium, France and the Netherlands, Belgian prosecutors said Friday.
A three-day wave of raids beginning on Wednesday netted more than 8,200 cannabis plants, along with 200 grams of cocaine, luxury cars including a Ferrari and nearly 90,000 euros in cash.
Nearly 650 officers were involved across the three countries, prosecutors in the southern Belgian city of Mons said, with the target an Albanian criminal network involved in drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, forgery and money-laundering.
Of the 63 people held, 15 have been formally arrested and three charged already, prosecutors said, adding that while the main suspects were based in Brussels, Amsterdam and the eastern Belgian city of Liege, the network also operated in Britain, France and Italy.
Most of the arrests were in Belgium but seven were held in the Netherlands and two in France.
This week’s raids were the result of information police obtained when they dismantled a cannabis plantation in southern Belgium last year, prosecutors said.