INFO EUROPE 1 – Drug trafficking: the lucrative business of “cannabis farms”

NEWS EUROPE 1

In April 2021, in an interview with Figaro, Emmanuel Macron made the fight against narcotics, “the mother of all battles”. In the process, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reinforced his “narcotics plan” with police reinforcements and systematic “harassment” of deal points.

2,778 traffic in the Paris metropolitan area dismantled in less than a year

Regularly, the “first agent of France” shows off his results, such as at the ceremony of the liberation of Paris last Wednesday: 2,778 traffic jams in the Paris metropolitan area in less than a year, +112% fixed fines drawn, 50% more suspects arrested for drug trafficking compared to last year.

But faced with this police pressure, the traffickers adapt and evade as usual. To avoid seizures of goods in ports or on the road, some of them produce “locally” and grow their own production to supply their deal point directly. Cannabis culture thus appears to be an “accessible and profitable culture”, as described in a recent memorandum from the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) obtained by Europa 1.

In support of their observation, the authors of this paper note that a two-meter-long plantation produces approximately 1.44 kilograms of grass – at the rate of two to five harvests per year – generating an annual turnover of approximately 14,400 euros. This makes it possible to get a very fast return on the 500 euros initially invested in the purchase of seeds and equipment sold legally online, or even directly in stores called “growshops”, 300 of which are in France to be.

Millions of euros at stake

Profits, high, can easily rise. For example, for a plantation of 1,000 plants that would produce 240 kilograms of grass per year, the turnover of a “cannabis farm” is estimated by specialist researchers at 1.02 million euros per year for wholesale sales, to 2.4 million euros for retail.

If Épinal’s image of 68 people growing some cannabis plants for their own consumption in their garden still stands, organized criminal groups have industrialized production and sometimes even called on the know-how of Dutch experts – former traders or producers – who France to set up their cannabis cultivation.

Farms with anti-theft systems

The police regularly discover “farms” up to several thousand meters that are located in unused industrial areas or isolated houses. This industrialization is now so widespread that traffickers are supplying theft protection equipment such as “burglar alarm and video surveillance systems, as well as traps and hiring security personnel,” the specialist researchers note in another recent note. .

Vietnamese Gardener Alliances

To counteract the police action and go undetected, they even invest in sound and heat insulating devices, or even odor filters, so that these sites become almost undetectable. “The dismantling of industrial cannabis cultivation sites also almost systematically reveals the presence of heavy weapons [qui] aims in particular to protect cannabis culture from other criminal groups engaged in the destruction of competing sites,” the judicial police analysts continued.

Vietnamese Gardener Alliances

The profiles of the traffickers who started growing cannabis in France are generally those found in the drug trade that is part of the city’s crime. Indoor cannabis production was also “a replacement activity” during the health crisis, note the authors of this note. Police also observed the opportunistic arrival in the area of ​​other groups from the local banditry or Traveler community.

Some Paris traffickers also form alliances with the Vietnamese community, whose subjects are hired directly on “farms” as managers or gardeners. “Localizing production in this way frees traffickers from import networks. They also choose their plants, some of which are genetically modified and produce a product with a much higher THC content and which will be sold at a higher price,” he said. a researcher from the north of France, where the phenomenon started to emerge several years ago. He concludes: “This cannabis, which is increasingly concentrated in THC, is a major health concern for consumers.”

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