“We had a good laugh in front of the TV,” laughs a drug trafficker in prison



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Emmanuel Macron on March 19, 2024 on a surprise visit to Marseille.  (CHRISTOPHE ENA / POOL)

Sentenced to a heavy sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering, this “high-ranking official” in local trafficking is ironic about the effectiveness of the XXL system defended Tuesday in Marseille by Emmanuel Macron. He spoke to franceinfo using a clandestine cell phone.

“All the prisoners had a good laugh in front of the TV”has fun on Wednesday March 20 at the microphone of franceinfo a Marseille detainee, the day after Emmanuel Macron’s surprise visit to Marseille to extol the merits of the so-called operation “XXL net square” started Monday in Bouches-du-Rhône against drug trafficking. This large-scale operation is expected to last several weeks, with 900 police, gendarmes and customs officers deployed in the Marseille city, mainly in the northern districts.

A Marseille inmate confides in franceinfo, denouncing the ineffectiveness of this system. This man in his thirties, sentenced to a heavy sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering, testifies anonymously from his cell, using a clandestine cell phone with which he obviously continues to keep the link with the outside world. He says he notably followed the media coverage of the “clearing” operation with the other detainees through television. “It made us laugh,” he insists. He believes that this device is made “for the media, to show that [les forces de l’ordre] are present, that they are doing their job”. But he considers that “It doesn’t change much.”

Prison is not a barrier to trafficking

According to the latest report from the Bouches-du-Rhône police headquarters, as of Tuesday evening, 98 people were arrested as part of this “clearance” operation but less than 10 kilos of cannabis were seized. The inmate doubts the real effectiveness on the ground. “We lose 20 days or a month”, either “the equivalent of 200,000 or 300,000 euros per week”, he explains. He specifies that when the police arrive in “small patrols, the watchman warns of their arrival”.

“They do a little trip of 15-20 minutes and with a little luck, they catch the little ‘scavenger’ or the one with the bag, but nothing more.”

A trafficker detained

at franceinfo

A testimony which is all the more chilling since, according to our information, the man occupies an important place on the local traffic map. He describes himself as “highly placed” And explains that prison is not a brake on drug trafficking, confirming what many observers of the prison environment analyze. On the contrary, “everything happens in prison, we expand, we develop, we have more contacts, there is more money being generated and there are more consumers”assures the trafficker. “There are a lot of people who want to feed themselves with coal, that is to say have their share, their percentage. There is a lot of money and income. It’s another world.” he explains. He assures that the gain is worth it, despite increasing pressure from the police. “There will be certain places of deal where there will be a lot more blood that will be spilledhe predicts, because it’s a lot of money coming in. Amounts you don’t even realizehe adds. Some are willing to go to death to protect their property. It’s war, it’s the jungle.”

This “war” left 49 dead and 123 injured in 2023, in Marseille alone. Faced with this, around ten “XXL net square” police operations are expected in France in the coming months.

franceinfo document: the testimony of a detainee who puts into perspective the effectiveness of “XXL” operations to fight drug trafficking

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