Murders, seizures, clan wars and arrests, an assessment of drug trafficking

The action of the police in Marseille manages to “crumble the deal points”, indicated Frédérique Camilleri, the prefect of police. At the end of 2021, the city had 156 active narcotics sales points (220 in the department) compared to 127 today (and 181 in the department). An “encouraging” result, a witness, according to the prefecture, of the effectiveness of the “shelling” strategy put in place from the year 2020 and which consists of police work in the daily harassment of these points of sale which are well established. street in many districts and cities of Marseille.

From simple consumers, to whom 18,600 criminal fixed fines were issued in 2020, to small hands, with 2,296 arrests for trafficking (including 1,813 in Marseille), to the “top of the spectrum”, with 10 arrests “of priority objectives”, including 3 appearing in the top 50 of individuals wanted by Ofsat (Anti-Narcotics Office), it is “the whole chain” which is targeted, recalled Frédérique Camilleri.

The prefect, however, noted the “black point of the high level of violence”. The past year has been one of the deadliest ever recorded with 65 homicides or attempted homicides linked to drug trafficking for 31 deaths. Police services estimate that 50% of these murders are caused by two major conflicts between different teams of traffickers.

The litigation history, first, counting for nine dead and opposing the clan known as “blacks” and that of “Olivier A” (a city), whose alleged leader, Kamel Meziani, arrested in September 2021 in Paris will be judged at the beginning of February by the Assize Court of Aix-en-Provence. Two other teams also clashed violently this year in the 3rd arrondissement of Marseille. A more recent but no less deadly dispute with seven deaths has been identified in the settling of scores. It is a “war” between the traffickers of Félix Pyat and those of the neighboring town of Moulin de Mai. Two points of sale which do not however brew tens of thousands of euros per day, as estimated for the most important in Marseille, but for which we do not kill each other any less.

This leads the prefecture to note “an acceleration of time in the networks” and “a change in the nature of the violence”. There or before we climbed the ladder gradually, and where violence was used to eliminate a head of a competing network or an emblematic person of this one, “some today want to go up very quickly, notes the prefect. This leads to actions of intimidation (one passes and bursts a point of sale) and one sees appearing victims not at all high placed”. This “blind violence” causes collateral victims, like Adel Santana Mendy, semi-pro footballer in Aubagne, who fell under the bullets on the evening of December 24 at the foot of the tower of his city.

Relative scarcity of labor

All of this data leads to a relative scarcity of labor for networks forced to recruit more and more often outside Marseille and sometimes on Snapchat. “Marseille has a reputation for paying well and being very violent,” continues the prefect. Add to that “a mythical dimension” of Marseille which can attract the youngest. The youngest out of school and family from the Lyon and Paris region who are often disillusioned with the methods of their employer. “We have little hands sequestered by the network, which call us to get out of it. The arrest is often for them the way to return home, ”says the prefect who was able to exchange with some of them.

For the coming year, the police should have the means to further strengthen their action, with the recruitment of 21 new officers at the PJ and an exceptional allocation of one million euros to acquire investigation equipment (marking and tapping of vehicles, cameras, telephone surveillance, etc.). In 2022, 5.5 tonnes of cannabis and 2.4 tonnes of cocaine (including 1.73 tonnes at the port) were seized in the department. In addition, more than 1,200 weapons have also been removed from this criminal circuit.

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