It could be a record-breaking record at the national level, which is making a big splash at the local level. The judicial police of Lille seized Tuesday 8000 cannabis plants grown in a warehouse in the city center of Roubaix. The plants were torn out and burned, and two people were arrested and placed in police custody. This capture perfectly illustrates a phenomenon that worries and constantly growing. When in 2015, less than 1000 feet were seized, in 2019, the judicial police is already close to 15,000.
In recent years, the industrial-scale cultivation of cannabis – from 500 feet – has been established in the North region. In recent months, examples of seizures have increased: 1000 in February in Tourcoing, 3300 in March in Roubaix or 800 in mats Harnes. Since the beginning of the year, these seizures have been accompanied by more than 200 arrests, of which more than 70% have been referred, individuals mainly from criminal organizations.
A popular geographical location of the networks
The implementation of these cannabis farms in large quantities is based on three elements, according to a police source. The geographical position, first. At the border with Belgium, and two hours by car from the Netherlands, the North attracts organized criminal networks that can afford to invest in equipment, in particular, but also who possess the technical skills and who have network flow of the drug. Skills that come mainly from Northern Europe.
The attractiveness of these departments for criminal networks from Belgium or the Netherlands also concerns the areas available to set up their activity. Indeed, many premises are vacant, disused warehouses. Added to this is an urbanized area, which allows the members of the networks to blend in and make sure that the comings and goings generated by this activity blend into the daily life of the inhabitants of the sector. A popular and profitable activity: one foot produces about 600 euros of income per year.
The fight against narcotics has accelerated, particularly in the North. In 2018, an anti-drug plan was put in place with a rise in the number of referrals, but with networks that are constantly reborn. This fight is based in particular on a better coordination of services between the PJ, the public security service, the customs, the gendarmerie, but also with the European neighbors.
In addition, the government announced in September a national plan with the key reform of Ocrtis, the Central Office for the suppression of illegal drug trafficking, whose reputation was tainted by scandals, replaced by the Ofast, the Office Anti-Narcotics.