Science

Nimes: who ran the drug trade at the Wagner Gallery?

Eight people suspected of being involved in the cannabis and cocaine trade between 2020 and 2021 at the Wagner Gallery in the Pisseven district have been on trial since Tuesday at Nimes Correctional Institutions. The debate is scheduled for four days.

Drug dealers do not tolerate emptiness. After the conviction of nine perpetrators involved in massive drug trafficking between 2018 and 2019 at the Wagner Gallery, a new generation has taken over the market. Since Tuesday, eight people have appeared in correctional facilities suspected of involvement in a new case of cannabis and cocaine trafficking, the acquisition and possession of weapons, and money laundering between 2020 and 2021 in the Wagner Gallery sector. After the shots were fired in the Pisseven area, police officers from the Drug Enforcement Brigade of the Security Department put the Wagner Gallery under surveillance.

The police were interested in the comings and goings of barkers, dealers, drivers who drive around the sector, those who collect money, others who serve customers, aisles at numbers 48 and 64 of the Wagner Gallery, organization “net”.

In Pisseven, the inhabitants of Pollux were deeply disturbed by the appearances and departures of masked and sometimes armed men in parts of the communes of one of the towers, magistrate Jean-Michel Pérez recalled yesterday. On the 5th floor of one of the houses, Place Jean-Calvin, the police found weapons and money in an empty apartment. Seized cocaine, ecstasy. Papillary marks allowed them to confuse several suspects.

“I’m at the bottom of the scale, Mr. President”

A few months earlier, in a parked Renault Scenic car, crime control officers found 1.2 kg of cannabis resin, grass, 1 kg of grass, cocaine, shotguns, an Uzi rifle, a submachine gun, an assault rifle, pistols, cartridges … “I have nothing to do with this Salim Merkus protests. I prefer to remain silent.” Hatir Lualich was already wanted.

He was arrested in April 2021 after he fled in a Mercedes and A9 in the wrong direction. “I refused to obey”slips away this Tuesday, this man protected me Hugo Ferry. In his car, the police seized a Dutch phone equipped with the Encrochat encrypted communication system (see below). “The phone is not mine”says the defendant, who denies his leading role in the case. “I am at the bottom of the stairs, Mr. President. The head of the network lives a good life for him. And the network next door is a real factory. There are a hundred people there.” Mikail Kaboub, who is protected by Me Fahd Mihih, recalls that he was homeless.

“I brought drinks and coal at night. I was a babysitter”defends the defendant. “Hold the bag, cashed out. Worked on the porch. Enough”assures Murad Bennalouch, assisted by Nicole Dorier-Sammut. “And I, I was just a janitor of the network. And I was hit by a bullet”, recalls Soufien Habibi, who was assisted by Me Leslie Arnaud. Everyone downplays or denies the facts they are accused of.

Defended by Me Abratkevich, Marouan Khidawi claims he worked and made good money. “I’ve never been a network accountant and I’ve never had an encrypted phone” the defendant asserts. Mohamed El Marcae was arrested at his mother’s home in Saint-Gilles. In his cars, investigators seized 10.7 kg of cocaine, ecstasy and more than 355,000 euros. “It is you who set the prices… It feels like you are the head of this organization,” promoted by the chairman of the court. “I am a victim of these people”, defends the forties. The debate will resume on Wednesday.

The four suspects allegedly used encrypted Encrochat messages and their messages were intercepted.

According to Jirse (Judicial Economic and Financial Jurisdiction) of Lille and investigators, the four suspects — Khatir Lualich, Marouane Hiddaoui, Murad Bennalouch and Mohamed El Marcy — were using Encrochat, an encrypted messaging system popular with human traffickers under false names. What they deny. This encrypted network, developed in the Netherlands, was infiltrated by European police.

This allowed the police to intercept the messages. Merchants communicated via Encrochat via email or SMS. Investigators isolated the photographs sent by the suspects and conducted a remote digital examination of the handprints.

Yesterday their lawyers reminded that they challenged this procedure. Thus, the police or gendarmes could intercept all traffickers’ communications. One of the suspects involved in drug trafficking at the Wagner Gallery had a Dutch phone with Encrochat encrypted messaging.

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