French law enforcement completed the third wave of arrests connected to an ongoing drug trafficking investigation. In Spring 2017, La Poste intercepted packages of drugs that led to the discovery of a drug trafficking network in Gap, a commune in Hautes-Alpes, France. Within the first few months of the investigation, French police forces tracked the packages from a darknet vendor to the first group of drug traffickers, setting off the sequence of events that set the third wave in motion.
According to laprovence.com, the Research Brigade of the Gap Gendarmerie arrested one dozen suspects within six months of the investigation. The majority of the suspects were roughly 20-years-old, but one suspect had been a minor at the time of his arrest. The suspects from the third wave of arrests—not unlike those in the prior waves of arrests—had distributed cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and marijuana for several months. After ordering drugs in bulk from darknet vendors, the dealers moved their product through the Hautes-Alpes department.
The number of total suspects remains somewhat unclear. Between Spring 2017 and Summer 2017, authorities arrested between nine and 12 suspects. Three of those suspects were held in pre-trial detention. Court officials kept the remainder of the suspects free, but held them under judicial supervision.
Between one and three people landed in custody following the execution of the third wave of arrests. Several news outlets refer to a single suspect, but one local news channel—with sources allegedly close to the investigation—referred to the occurrence of several arrests. One source wrote of the eight arrests before the third wave and 10 arrests after the third wave.
Regardless of the number of suspects that French police took into custody during the most recent raid, the case changed very little. The arrests linked back to the original La Poste seizure in April 2017. The suspects sold in the Hautes-Alpes department and mainly in the Gap commune, but had branched out to surrounding areas.
Authorities discovered LSD in the most recent indecent, but otherwise, the dealer(s) had purchased the same drugs as before and likely from the same darknet vendor. In a statement, the Prosecutor revealed that the investigation into the darknet vendor and drug distribution network was an ongoing investigation. Only nine out of the total number of suspects had been charged at the time of the announcement.
“The operating procedures, the nature and quantity of the products and the places of resale will not be the subject of any communication from the public prosecutor’s office until the investigations have been concluded in order to preserve the investigations,” the Prosecutor said in the statement to the press. He added that “some elements circulated in the press on this subject are erroneous,” possibly referring to the wild variation in the number of arrests.