The act is probably related to Belgian drug crime, as a police spokesman confirmed on Tuesday. According to information from the public prosecutor’s office, unknown persons shot at a garage door in the Merksem district on Monday evening. The residents of the house, a father (58) and two other daughters aged 18 and 13 were slightly injured.
But for the youngest girl, any help came too late. According to prosecutors, the autopsy showed that she was fatally hit by a bullet. An investigation should now clarify whether the case actually has something to do with the drug milieu. According to media reports, the girl killed is the niece of a notorious drug smuggler. However, the port city’s public prosecutor’s office emphasized that there was no evidence to date that the residents of the house were “involved in drug trafficking themselves”. The investigation is ongoing.
Since the summer of 2022, the port city of Antwerp has been hit by a wave of drug-related violence. According to the police spokesman, shots or explosive devices have often been fired in front of doors or garages to intimidate people. However, this is the first time people have been harmed.
Horror: “Children have nothing to do with the drug war”
Politicians in Belgium were appalled. “Children have nothing to do with a drug war,” Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden wrote on Twitter. “The drug mafia can’t go any lower,” Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said. Police and prosecutors would do everything in their power to find and punish those responsible.
Antwerp’s drug crime is closely linked to gangs in neighboring Netherlands. The ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam are also the largest import ports of cocaine in Europe. Customs investigators seized a total of around 160 tons of cocaine in both countries last year. This was announced by the customs authorities of both countries on Tuesday. In Antwerp alone it was about 109 tons – more than ever before. In 2021 it was around 90 tons.
In Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, tightened security measures and controls were successful: around 47 tons of cocaine were seized, significantly less than the around 70 tons in 2021, according to the public prosecutor in Rotterdam. But the sales value is still “a dizzying 3.5 billion euros”. In the small port of Vlissingen in the southwest, the investigators secured around four tons of cocaine, almost twice as much as in the previous year.
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