French Police Arrest 28 to Stop Migrant Gang War in Paris Suburbs

Police officers of the Brigade des Réseaux Ferrés (BRF - Railway Network Squad) detain a man during a patrol in the metro in Paris on November 2, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Police in the French commune of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges arrested 28 people believed to be smugglers of contraband cigarettes and who were also involved in a local gang war.

Violence between the gangs, identified as Algerians and Tunisians by a source close to the investigation, has gone on for weeks in the area with many of the so-called “settling of accounts” involving knives.

The trafficking was mostly centred around the Villeneuve-Saint-Georges RER station, Le Parisien reports and involves far more suspects than the 28 people that police arrested on Monday.

“Not everyone was taken into custody otherwise it would be unmanageable,” a source close to the investigation told the newspaper and added: “But we wanted to mark the occasion.”

Eight of the 28 arrested remained in custody as of Tuesday and seven migrants arrested were issued deportation orders.

The violence between the gangs is said to have spilt over and affected local businesses in the area with one police officer stating: “The guys weren’t just selling cigarettes. We have had an upsurge in purse snatching and pickpocketing.”

Migrant street gangs have also been a major issue in nearby Paris, where residents of the heavily migrant-populated 18th arrondissement have expressed despair over the levels of street crime in the area.

Last June, several locals spoke out about the situation with one man, a 42 year resident of the area, saying “for six months, we find under our [doormats] drug pills. Young people come to pick them up. I’m getting scared.”

A local restaurant owner also stated he shut down his business due to the presence of the criminals on the street and the violence that came with them.

Statistics released earlier this year revealed that France saw a large increase in violent crimes in 2019 with a 12 per cent rise in sexual violence and an 8.5 per cent rise in homicides.

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


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