French Drug Dealers Offer Free Masks and Hand Sanitiser to Lure Customers

This photo illustration shows bottles of Purell hand sanitizers on March 5, 2020 in Washington,DC. - Amazon pledged on March 5, 2020 to take steps to fight price gouging after a US senator complained of "unjustifiably high prices" on hand sanitizers and surgical masks to protect against coronavirus infections. The …
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French police in the department of Bas-Rhin in Alsace arrested four individuals advertising drugs on social media, and offering free hand sanitiser and medical masks with each purchase.

The four people arrested, three men aged between 27 and 28 and one woman aged 40, advertised the sale of cannabis resin, cocaine and ecstasy through the popular social media mobile app Snapchat and offered to deliver the illegal drugs to the homes of their customers.

Investigators say the four travelled up to 500 kilometres in two days delivering drugs in the area and not only offered masks and hand sanitizer but made sure to fill out lockdown travel certificates that claimed they were travelling to pharmacies to pick up medicine.

When police arrested the drug traffickers in the city of Strasbourg and the commune of Matzenheim, they found at least 35,000 euros in cash. All four have been placed in pre-trial detention on charges of drug trafficking.

The arrests come as French drug dealers have struggled with a shortage of supplies due to to the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown not only in France but in other countries where illegal drugs flow to and from.

Many others have also adapted to the lockdown measures, which were eased in France on Monday, by using social media apps to advertise.

Some have warned that the lack of supply and higher prices could mean increased violence between drug-dealing gangs with an investigator from the Ile-de-France region stating last month: “If the supply does not start again, and if the confinement lasts longer, it could become hot in certain cities.”

While most French have obeyed the lockdown orders that began in mid-March, many urban youths have largely ignored them and used opportunities to attack police in certain “vulnerable” neighbourhoods.

The department of Yvelines saw a large number of anti-police attacks during the lockdown, with officers complaining of being attacked daily over a two week period last month.

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


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