French Teen Tortured with Blowtorch to Genitals over Drug Dispute

A photo shows an officer's arm badge as French police officers patrol the Christmas market on the Vieux Port (Old Harbour) in Marseille on December 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS (Photo credit should read BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A 16-year-old boy has claimed to be the victim of brutal torture after receiving third-degree burns to his arms and genitals in what is believed to be a drug gang-related crime.

The teen was dropped off at a hospital in Marseille on Tuesday by two unknown individuals who left the young man naked on the ground in front of the hospital and fled the area, Le Parisien reports.

Doctors say the 16-year-old suffered severe burns to the genitals and arm and noted that his face was also very swollen. “The boy said that these injuries were inflicted by these two men with a blowtorch,” a source told Le Parisien.

Police say that the boy was arrested only days prior in Micocouliers, north of Marseille, and that the torture attack could be related to the settling of accounts between rival drug traffickers.

Investigators also note that the motivation for the attack could have been to send a message to those who may be in large debt to traffickers or those who talk to the police. They added that a formal investigation into charges of torture has begun.

The case is just the latest incidence of brutal violence connected with the illegal drug trade in France as gang crime is seen as one of the main causes of a surge in homicide cases across the country.

In the first three months of this year alone the country saw 248 murders, a rise of 16 percent from the previous three months.

Another particularly brutal so-called settling of accounts took place in Paris last year when a Sri Lankan migrant was scalped and had his arm cut off in a restaurant, being attacked by other Sri Lankans.

Some criminal gangs in France are also heavily armed as evidenced by several raids in recent years that have turned up military-grade firearms, including a raid in 2017 where police in the Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis discovered an anti-tank bazooka.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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