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The alleged leader of one of the main Marseille drug trafficking gangs arrested in Morocco

The presumed leader of the Yoda clan, one of the main drug gangs à Marseille accused to be à the origin of a bloody drug-trafficking war in France's second-largest city, was revealed by the arrested Friday in Morocco, announcedé Saturday the French authorities.

“One of the biggest Marseille drug traffickers has been arrested in Morocco. Bravo to the police officers who are tirelessly continuing the fight against drug trafficking,” wrote the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, on X, confirming information from the newspaper Le Parisian.

“A big blow has been dealt today to drug banditry thanks to our cooperation with the Moroccan authorities, whom I thank”, added the minister.< /p>

The public prosecutor of Marseille, Nicolas Bessone, confirmed to AFP the arrest in Casablanca (west of Morocco) of Félix Bingui, 33 years old.

He was the subject of an arrest warrant from a Marseille investigating judge for “importing narcotics in an organized gang, transport, detention, acquisition, transfer of narcotics, criminal association (…) money laundering and not justification of resources”, specified the prosecution in a press release.

The alleged leader of one of the main Marseille drug trafficking gangs arrested in Morocco

A police officer from the 14th BST Brigade searches for drugs in a deal point in the Cité des Rosiers, in the northern districts of Marseille, December 1, 2023 © AFP – Nicolas TUCAT

“This arrest is the result of remarkable cooperation from the Moroccan authorities who carried out his arrest and the meticulous and tireless work of the French Anti-Narcotics Office, the fugitives brigade of the Central Office for the Fight against Organized Crime and the Marseille judicial police”, continues the prosecution.

The General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) of Morocco, for its part, indicated in a press release cited by the Moroccan press agency MAP that a “French national who is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the French authorities for cases linked to the creation of criminal networks active in international drug trafficking” had been arrested after an operation “aimed at identifying and locating all the places where the accused could find refuge in several Moroccan cities” .

“The suspect was placed in police custody before being presented on Saturday morning before the competent public prosecutor's office in Casablanca, as part of the extradition procedure” , according to the press release, which does not indicate how long this procedure could last.

A turf war for control of juicy deal points — until 80,000 euros in daily turnover for some – between the Yoda clan and a rival group called “DZ Mafia” bloodied Marseille, particularly last year.

– 49 deaths –

With 49 people killed, including four collateral victims, and 123 injured, in violence linked to drug trafficking, 2023 was the deadliest year in Marseille.

The alleged leader of one of the main Marseille drug trafficking gangs arrested in Morocco

A police officer stands next to a wall indicating the price of drugs at a sales point in the Maison-Blanche city, in the northern districts of Marseille, on December 1, 2023 © AFP – Nicolas TUCAT

Some 35 of these “narchomicides” were directly linked to these rivalries between two clans, Pascal Bonnet, deputy to the judicial police in the south of France, indicated in January.

The main magistrates of Marseille had also launched a cry of alarm earlier in the week, before the senatorial commission of inquiry dedicated to the fight against drug trafficking.

< p> “Narcobanditism acts in Marseille like a sort of gangrene which damages the social fabric”, launched the president of the Marseille judicial court, Olivier Leurent, noting an “asymmetric” war between the State and these powerful and calling for a “Marshall plan to combat this crime.

Bingui, according to a source close to the investigation, was born in Gard but spent his entire “career” in trafficking in Marseille. He regularly traveled back and forth with Morocco until the outbreak of “war” with the rival DZ Mafia gang in February 2023, from which point he had never left this Maghreb country.

The alleged leader of one of the main Marseille drug trafficking gangs arrested in Morocco

Drugs seized by the police in the northern districts of Marseille, December 11, 2023 © AFP – Nicolas TUCAT

The Yoda clan was named after murals representing the character from the Star Wars film series designating some of his deal points in cities in Marseille. DZ Mafia refers to the national domain for Algeria in the internet addresses.

With the arrest of Bingui, 19 “highly wanted individuals” for their important role in trafficking drugs in Marseille were arrested, some of whom were abroad, according to figures from the Bouches-du-Rhône police headquarters.

Another figure of Marseille narcobanditism , Karim Harrat known as “Rantanplan”, wanted for a series of homicides by an organized gang, was extradited from Morocco to France at the beginning of 2023.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116