Synthetic drug production and trafficking in Belgium
Belgium is considered one of Europe’s main producers of synthetic drugs (syndrug), besides the Netherlands and Poland. The Belgian syndrug production mainly focuses on amphetamine and MDMA, although we notice an increase in methamphetamine production in recent years. Laboratories, warehouses and dumping sites are concentrated along the Belgian-Dutch border. The misuse of this border region and the increased Belgian-Dutch criminal network cooperation are no coincidence. Belgian and Dutch drug markets and criminal networks have been intertwined for many years. Recently, however, laboratories and dumping sites are not only dismantled in the border region but are increasingly spreading to the rest of the country. Unfortunately, our knowledge about the Belgian situation regarding syndrug and our insight into the structure and organisation of criminal networks involved in syndrug production and trafficking in Belgium is limited. This presentation is part of an ongoing doctoral thesis based on a multimethod design using social network analysis and crime scripting. The presentation will be based on an extensive literature review, a judicial file study and interviews conducted with stakeholders. This presentation will describe the syndrug production and trafficking in Belgium. We will focus on (1) the first results of the social network analysis regarding the structure and organisation of criminal networks involved in the Belgian syndrug market, and (2) results of our empirical study regarding the environmental damage related to syndrug production in Belgium, including recommendations for policy and practice. The production of syndrug is a rising problem in Belgium. However, little is known about (1) the organisation and structure of the criminal networks involved, and (2) the environmental damage caused by syndrug production. Our ongoing research aims to fill this gap.