Violence Looms as France’s Drug Dealers Struggle Due to Coronavirus Shortages

A police officer takes part in an anti-drug operation in the "Cite des Oliviers, a northern neighbourhood of Marseille, southern France on March 25, 2020, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) …

Due to the lockdown measures put in place to combat the Wuhan coronavirus, illegal drug shortages have increased both prices and tensions among French dealers.

Local drug traffickers across France have adapted, and some have begun selling through mobile apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp, as well as organising deliveries in local supermarkets and their car parks.

In many areas, such as the no-go Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis, street-level drug dealing has all but vanished. However, districts in cities like Lyon have seen a resurgence in drug trafficking, Le Parisien reports.

According to France’s Anti-Drug Office (OFAST), shortages have been seen across the entire country due to the closing of borders. But the body said road travel could become the new preferred way of smuggling drugs due to the more lax restrictions compared to air travel.

A police officer stationed in the city of Perpignan also claimed that violence from small-time drug dealers has been active despite the lockdown, saying: “There is not an evening when control isn’t lost.”

“Just ten days ago, the vehicle of our colleagues from the canine brigade was hit. It is obvious that these refusals to comply are linked to narcotics,” the officer added.

“If the supply does not start again, and if the confinement lasts longer, it could become hot in certain cities,” an investigator from the Ile-de-France added.

Clashes between drug-dealing gangs were seen earlier this month in Montpellier when youths armed with machetes and other weapons set upon each other, despite the strict lockdown restrictions.

Violent acts directed at police have also been seen in multiple areas of the country. During an incident in Bordeaux, a refrigerator was thrown at officers from the balcony of a residential building.

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


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