Drones fight drug war in Limburg, Belgium

Marijuana
. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) plant. Source:Wikimedia/United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The Lanaken city council has decided to tackle the drugs problem by using drones and heat sensing cameras to track down marijuana plantations. The work group also wants a cooperation action from within the euro region and the ability to execute 'morality investigations' into tenants. 

A meeting in the Lanaken city hall in Thursday brought together almost all the mayors and police chiefs from the border municipalities of the Netherlands, from North to South. The leaders discussed the problem of cannabis plantations in the Limburg border region which, according to federal minister of Justice Annemie Turtelboom (Open VLD) are " a phenomenon."

Turtelboom said a new law allows authorities to destroy plantations after seizure, a step forward in the fight against drugs, which must now also be aided by technology. "We are going to improve collaboration between the Netherlands and Germany. We want to share information of population registries, but we must also take steps on the level of suspect questioning on the neighboring country's territory. A dutch marijuana cultivator who is caught with us, must immediately be extradited and serve his time in his country."

The minister also said that mayors should be able to have more power. Municipal leadership should be able to deny tenants access to empty storage spaces on the basis of background check, or morality research. "Many police zones get info that suspects want to rent an empty garage, but the municipal leaders can't stop the application. The new law must put an end to this."

The police force must also be better equipped with specialized technology, such as drones and heat-sensing cameras to find plantations. Cooperation with electricity companies such as Infrax must be improved in order to be able to detect more easily the extreme use of 'lost' electricity.

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