Will Belgium become a “narco-state”?
Laura van Lerberghe
Attempted kidnapping of a minister, shootings and repeated violence, particularly in the Antwerp region… Crime related to drug trafficking has been on the rise in Belgium for several months. Hence the question some are beginning to ask: Will Belgium become a “narco-state”? Explanations from Europe 1.
It is a Belgian magistrate who says: “The kingdom can become a ‘narco-state'”. Reason for such a statement: the failed attempt to kidnap the Minister of Justice. Europe 1 pulled the thread of this story. This leads directly to Antwerp. This port has become the center of drug trafficking in Europe. A business of 60 billion euros, which corresponds to the annual pension budget in Belgium. Powerful cartels grew, as did violence. Firearms, arson, targeted attacks on homes and businesses… Mayors in Antwerp or Brussels are afraid of this phenomenon.
The Belgian Minister of Justice is under high protection
The Home Secretary is on the defensive. Annelies Verlinden promises to create 195 investigator positions in two years. “We invest more in the police, more in human resources, more investments and also in digital technologies. We must fight because crime must not destabilize the state,” she said.
That’s the challenge facing the Belgian authorities: maintaining control of the economy and preventing the state from being engulfed by corruption. For this, the prosecutors do not hesitate to sentence them severely. Proof that their work hinders the human traffickers: after his attempted kidnapping, the Minister of Justice has to live in hiding for a week under strict protection.
Methods of South American cartels
Cartels no longer hesitate to import South American methods to Europe. To deal with it, there is no secret. According to police unionists like Thierry Belin, “we must act now”. “It would need about 1,000 additional investigators. We stand by the bone and keep gnawing. At some point we will have to find solutions because we can’t get out of it,” he warns. A year ago, the dismantling of an encrypted communications network enabled the arrest of more than 1,200 people. A success, but also a cause for concern as it had led to the discovery of mobile torture chambers unprecedented in Europe.
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