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Police arrest Brussels airport staff as part of drug smuggling operation

Brussels Airport logo pictured at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem. (BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE)
05:48 29/06/2022

As part of a judicial investigation into drug smuggling via Brussels Airport, six airport employees and three other people were arrested on Monday, Bruzz reports. During 10 house searches, €217,000 in cash and various vehicles were also seized, according to the Halle-Vilvoorde public prosecutor's office.

The investigation started after customs at Zaventem airport discovered two abandoned suitcases in February and March of last year. The suitcases were found to contain 25kg and 12kg of cocaine, respectively.

Conducted by the federal judicial police in Halle-Vilvoorde, the investigation gained momentum after the surveillance mission Operation Sky cracked messages that could be linked to the suitcases. It soon became clear that the cocaine smuggling was organised with help from inside the airport.

The criminal organisation smuggling the drugs relied on the cooperation of a number of airport employees who facilitated the passage of the narcotics. The investigation resulted in 10 house searches last Monday in which nine people were arrested. It concerns three men aged 31, 25 and 21 from Zaventem, a 37-year-old man and his 33-year-old wife from Vilvoorde, a 45-year-old man from Vilvoorde, a 37-year-old man from Anderlecht, a 33-year-old man from Saint-Gilles and a 33-year-old man from Hoboken. Six of those arrested work at the airport in Zaventem.

The public prosecutor's office of Halle-Vilvoorde announced on Tuesday evening that the arrested persons were brought before the investigating judge. It placed six people under an arrest warrant, five of them were transferred to prison, one person was placed under electronic surveillance. One arrested person was charged but was released on bail. The two other persons were not charged and were released.

Written by Nick Amies