“XXL net square” operations: 1,738 arrests nationally, announces Darmanin

Gérald Darmanin drew up a new assessment on Saturday in Saint-Denis of his anti-drug operations, called “Place Net XXL”, which according to him produce “huge effects” and will continue in France despite the reservations of those on the ground. “On the national level, anti-drug operations continue to have enormous effects: we are at 1,738 arrests, 150 kilos of drugs seized (…), 2.4 million euros and more than 20,000 gendarmes and police officers mobilized” , detailed the Minister of the Interior during a press point in front of Saint-Denis station. “We will continue these anti-drug operations,” he added.

“3,600 police and gendarmerie personnel mobilized”

In Paris and the Paris region, he insisted on “the significant resources” deployed since Monday, including “33 anti-drug operations mounted in five days” as well as “3,600 police and gendarmerie personnel mobilized”. Some 319 people were also taken into police custody, and 800,000 euros of cash seized, according to the minister, who announced the deployment of “three new anti-drug operations” from Monday in France, bringing the total number to nine of operations.

On March 19, Emmanuel Macron went to Marseille for the launch of the first anti-drug operation “Place Net XXL”, two weeks after the cry of alarm from magistrates in the Marseille city asking for a “Marshall plan” to save the second largest city in France for drug banditry. He promised that around ten other operations of this type would take place nationally in the following weeks.

Criticisms from actors in the field

On Monday, four interventions, in the North, in the Paris region, in the Lyon metropolitan area and in Dijon as well as in the center-east of France, were launched, opening the way to criticism from actors on the ground. Questioned by AFP, the magistrates’ union (classified on the left) had notably described these actions as “flicking operations”, urging “the government to get out of this unnecessarily costly escalation”.

These operations, which “mobilize, on an ad hoc basis, considerable police resources on public roads cannot be sufficient to stem drug trafficking”, for its part judged the French Association of Investigating Magistrates.

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