In response to a rising tide of drug-related criminal activity that has resulted in the deaths of several dozen individuals since mid-July, the French government has taken the decision to deploy an elite police unit to Marseille, Euronews has reported.
This specialized unit, known as CRS 8, which focuses on addressing urban violence, will be dispatched to the southern city in the upcoming days to execute targeted operations against drug syndicates.
According to official statements on August 17, this unit is anticipated to remain in Marseille for approximately a week, during which it will conduct operations aimed at curtailing drug trafficking, with particular emphasis on locations where drug sales are prevalent.
Sur mon instruction, la CRS 8 sera déployée en renfort à Marseille afin d’y mener des opérations ciblées contre les trafics de drogue au cours des prochains jours.— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) August 17, 2023
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had previously deployed this particular police division in February with the intention of combating drug trafficking. Comprising a team of 200 personnel, this unit can be rapidly mobilized within a radius of 300 kilometers in just 15 minutes to manage situations involving serious breaches of public order and urban violence. Darmanin provided this insight when he first established the unit in 2021.
In Marseille, the ongoing conflict between the "Yoda" and "Mafia DZ" factions has led to the deaths of 12 individuals since mid-July. Frédéric Camilléri, the Prefect of Police in Marseille, indicated that this confrontation has accounted for approximately 80% of the total murders or attempted murders attributed to organized criminal groups within the city since the beginning of the year.
Camilléri expressed deep concern about the evolving nature of this conflict, where acts of murder are being showcased across social media platforms.
In February, a teenager lost his life after being lynched by a group of around 30 individuals in the residential area of Paternel, which serves as a focal point of drug-related violence. This attack was documented on video and live-streamed on Snapchat.
Authorities have highlighted a disturbing trend where both the perpetrators and the victims are progressively younger, and the recruitment of individuals to carry out acts of violence has become an increasingly normalized aspect of these criminal conflicts. An 18-year-old individual was apprehended in April under suspicion of involvement in the murder of two teenagers.
Since the commencement of August, eight individuals have been fatally shot in Marseille. Additionally, since the start of the year, as per the latest data compiled by AFP, 36 individuals have lost their lives as a result of drug-related activities.
The Marseille prosecutor's office has observed a rising proportion of victims between the ages of 14 and 21. Consequently, on an almost daily basis, minors find themselves before a judge specializing in cases involving minors or juvenile offenses related to drug-related crimes.