Drug trafficking in Sète: “it’s a system of slavery”

Drug trafficking in Sète: “it’s a system of slavery”

La police municipale est en contact avec la population via un PC mobile présent deux à trois fois par semaine. Les brigades tournent régulièrement. – P. E.

The City and its municipal police officers are mobilized on the front line of daily trafficking in the Ile de Thau district.

"The watchers, or jobbers as they say, are not afraid to come and complain to the police that they are being prevented from working. For them, they are not doing anything wrong, they are working!", assures Éric Perriguey, director of the municipal police of Sète. He describes these little hands of trafficking on the island of Thau. Often minors, from elsewhere, "recruited on the internet for three weeks. This way, they are not spotted, very aware of our prerogatives and they are not afraid of anything."

"It’is a system of slavery", he continues. Once personal drug consumption, reimbursement for lost or seized merchandise, or penalties in the event of a police raid are deducted, some work for free for the network.

Not to mention the beatings suffered and the threats to families when things turn sour. According to the head of the PM, "the situation has deteriorated since 2017, 2018. We have a horde of watchers in the neighborhood, it has changed the lives of the residents and brought of the insecurity that had to be addressed."

"Traffic is exploding"

Since 2016, the number of island workers has increased from 2 to 6 per day, or 15% of the total workforce. They are in permanent contact with the population from their mobile PC, present two to three times a week. More visible to 90% of the population than foot or car patrols, confides the municipal boss. More flexible in terms of schedules and more efficient than a fixed position, according to him.

Teams in rotating brigades (three agents) rotate regularly, ready to intervene. The seizures are not small. In February 2024, agents found, for example, 181 doses of cocaine.

In Sète, a fight worth several million euros per year

Information feedback from the field allows agents to be responsive to the slightest new installation of a deal point. Working together with the national police, but also mediators, the CCAS or associations within the Intercommunal Council for Security and Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CISPDR), is crucial.

"Everyone is involved, assures Eric Perriguey. We haven't won yet, traffic is exploding, but we're holding on. It’s exhausting, but the slightest relaxation takes you back five years. In most major cities, traffic has become unmanageable. But we, here, have never had, since I have been in office, a physical attack on municipal police officers."

New prevention tools

In 2024, the City plans to strengthen video surveillance by adding around ten cameras in the neighborhood, thanks to state aid. An SMS alert system (200 contacts) to protect the population, schools, in the event of danger, is also in place on the island of Thau since the ;assassination of “Poisson”, in 2020. It was only activated twice, the second on January 9, during shots fired at Seinchole. A “button” alert was installed in the sector's institutions, linked to the urban supervision center and the PM.

The classification of the island of Thau as a QRR (district of republican reconquest) is demanded by all the actors, primarily the City. "That would allow us to multiply the resources, budgetarily we are limited", indicates Patrick André, security assistant. The fight against trafficking certainly costs millions of euros per year in Sète.

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