Wednesday 18 August 2010. Belgian/French Border crossing. Eurolines Bus
26-47-ZL from Amsterdam till Madrid.
We stop. Unheard of normally. Random check I guess. A clown comes
on board. Fat. No gun it seems. Everyone out and all hand luggage
also. I say to Diva – the gorgeous black 10 month old baby – in
French – ‘ the policeman has toys also – he likes to play with his
We are all finally inside a room – there are about 60 of us with all
hand and hold luggage. The white belgian guy and me exchange notes in
French – ‘now they must look for people with shaking hands….’.
There is an african guy who is sitting down. I find this strange
since there are only 2 seats and we should keep them for women,
children and the old – all 3 of these groups are in the room.
‘There are 2 suitcases unclaimed in the hold of the bus!’ the police announce.
Now they usher the sitting black guy into their examination room (or
is it their beating-up room?). Shit I think -always the black guy who
gets picked on. Soon he comes back out with hands hand-cuffed behind
his back. Another white guy gets the same treatment.
Soon all is revealed – via my white Belgian friend – there are 50 kg
heroin ande 5 kg cocain on the bus. Amazing – a street value of at
least 5 million euros or 4 million pounds or 7 million dollars. Worth
maybe 1 million euros where it is…
We get some time to pee and buy stuff. Maybe 3 per cent will shrink
in the hands of the police, I venture with my Belgian contact. When I
really think about it 10 minutes later, maybe 100% will shrink. Who
cares if any report is submitted to the system? The guys can be
beaten and released. They wont go to report anything. The 10 customs
and police guys will be 100,000 euros richer each after they have
resold the stuff. A good haul for a few hours work.
I pass the 206 in which 4 police are sitting. ‘This is better than
watching TV’ I tell them. They agree. They look shifty. I didnt try to take any
photos. Good idea. Another day on a european border.
PS – here is the interesting part of this story – I gave this to a NZ freelance
journalist friend of mine. He tried to sell it around his usual contacts in the UK
without any interest or acceptance from their side. Strange I thought – they
find mainland Europe stories uninteresting, or they find drugs stories uninteresting?
Alex Weir, July 2011