beziers Human trafficking, money laundering and extortion: An Armenian family at the head of a criminal organization

The GIGN was involved in this spectacular operation.
The GIGN was involved in this spectacular operation. (© Ministry of the Interior)

At the same time, a large trawl was launched on Monday Herault and in other regions by numerous investigative services, including bitter rose was the central point, revealed this Friday Raphaël Balland, the prosecutor of Béziers. narrative.

In July 2020, an investigation into cocaine trafficking was initiated Mont-Blanc, between Béziers and Pézenas, was opened by the research brigade of the Gendarmeriegesellschaft Pézenas under the supervision of the Béziers Public Prosecutor’s Office. 30 narcotics users were identified. In an attempt to apprehend the purveyors of this traffic, prosecutors requested disclosurejudicial information on November 16, 2020 cases of drug trafficking (cocaine and cannabis) and arms trafficking.

Eight investigators

A special cell was put together at the beginning of January 2021 eight investigators was set up under the supervision of the investigating magistrate and included the Montpellier research department, the departmental grouping of the Hérault gendarmerie and the interministerial research group, the GIR of Montpellier. In the course of the investigation, the public prosecutor’s office gradually extended the referral to the investigating judge to include deeds cigarette traffic, Amounted to, blackmail, Association of criminals and money laundering in an organized gang, due to the discovery of elements leading to the suspicion of the existence of a structured organization involved in several illegal activities under the authority of several members of an Armenian family based in Béziers: drug and cigarette trafficking that supplies nightlife, as well as several local networks in Pézenas and Béziers; Purchase and resale of category B or A weapons to persons who wish to purchase them; Fraud through the resale of vehicles with odometers tampered with by the managers of three workshops in Vendres and Béziers nearly 150 victims identified.

“The leaders of the network enforced their law and did not hesitate to use force and threats against those who were particularly blackmailers and feared reprisals. Many victims were afraid to report this family and their accomplices,” said a source close to the investigation. Metropolitan. A real mafia organization had been set up.

The committed GIGN

Given the scope of the investigation, the three examining magistrates of the Béziers court were arrested together last January. A large-scale arrest operation was carried out by the mobilization of the national gendarmerie on Monday 280 soldiers including the GIGN descended from Paris, local branches of the GIGN including those of Orange, all the surveillance and intervention trains -PSIG- of the Hérault group (Castelnau-le-Lez, Lodève, Lunel, Béziers and Pézenas) and several other units outside the department came out Millau, Paris, Marseille with the reinforcement of a helicopter from the Montpellier air department and five dog teams, as well as the National Institute specializing in the study of weapons.

€77,000 in cash

Twenty suspects who had been under discreet surveillance for several months were arrested in Béziers, Millau. Sete, Vincennes and Montpellier and guarded. About twenty other people likely to have attended these events were also heard in free hearings. The searches allowed the Seizing of 16 long guns, 18 handguns, numerous ammunition of all calibers, 300 g of cocaine540 boxes of smuggled cigarettes and 77,000 euros in cash.

foreclosures

At the same time, with the support of the GIR, proceedings were launched to confiscate immovable and personal property and bank accounts with an estimated total value of more than EUR 1.3 million. As of this Friday, 16 people have been brought before investigating judges at the end of their police custody and charged; 15 of them were taken into custody by the judge of liberty and detention, the JLD. The investigations are ongoing, in particular to exploit the elements seized during the search and to enable the lawyers of the persons identified – who will benefit from it presumption of innocence – Examine the many elements of the procedure. A long instruction begins.

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