Marseille’s Cartel Crisis: Urgent Call For Drug Emergency


The senator from Bouches-du-Rhône describes an increasingly untenable situation in the Marseille city where the settling of scores is increasing.

Today, you are sounding the alarm again. Do you despair of the situation in Marseille?

In ten years, the cartel war has claimed 300 lives. There is an emergency, Marseille is hostage to the cartels and can turn into Medellin, the Kalashnikov has replaced Marianne against the backdrop of an Islamist enclave in many neighborhoods. We must wage a total war against this scourge!

In response, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced 300 additional police officers and 3 new CRS companies. Is it sufficient ?

But Gérald Darmanin can continue to provide the best possible work, without reconstructing the effectiveness of the criminal chain, he is condemned to empty the housing estates of narcos with a pierced teaspoon. Due to a lack of prison places, France incarcerates fewer than its neighbours: 105 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 138 in the United Kingdom. As a result, only 59% of individuals sentenced to a prison term go to the cell! Among them, thousands of drug traffickers. This is a message of absolute impunity sent by the state to the cartels. We need a penal revolution but also a repressive arsenal strengthened like never before! Solutions exist.

Which Ones?

A drug dealer caught red-handed almost never goes to jail. There is a real feeling of impunity. We must restore the meaning and effectiveness of the sentence by building thousands of prison places. We need a state of emergency against drugs. I call for an exceptional sentencing regime for drug trafficking. The penalties for traffickers must be toughened. The heads of networks must receive exemplary sentences and floors, 30 years incompressible. As for small hands, they must receive heavy penalties, again incompressible and automatic, 5 years minimum. Fear must change sides. An arrested trafficker must have the certainty of ending up behind bars, and for a long time! He should not be eligible for any remission. In addition, I ask that, once the sentence has been served, they can no longer return to the territory of their trafficking. They must be prohibited from a perimeter large enough to prevent any reconstitution of the networks. They must be banned from the neighborhoods and towns where they are rampant, Marseilles must be cleaned of narcos.

Finally, it is essential to evict traffickers and their families from social housing when they are minors, and to cut off the social assistance they receive. We must empower families and neighborhood residents. A deal point is between 80,000 and 130,000 euros per day. There are entire neighborhoods that benefit from it. The traffic streams in thousands of euros in buildings and families. We must break the trickle of money from drugs and crime.

Should we, as Éric Ciotti argues, “post the name” of people arrested in possession of narcotics?

Yes of course! Any idea to empower the consumer is good, but above all, the fixed fine must be massively increased. Consumers must understand the seriousness of their actions, they must face up to their responsibilities. Through their consumption, they finance terrorism and crime. They indirectly have blood on their hands. The fixed fine for a consumer amounts to 200 euros. It is far from being a deterrent. The fine should be at least 1000 euros. In the event of a recurrence, the consumer must be considered as ill with an addiction and thus be subject to an obligation of care. In thirty years, the number of consumers has exploded. In 1992, 7% of French people had used cannabis at least once, compared to 45% in 2020. It’s dizzying. We must stop trivializing drug use and start a major national prevention campaign, as we are doing against drunk driving. There has never been a national war on drugs in France, as Reagan or Clinton waged across the Atlantic. Young people must be subject to regular compulsory screening from the second year, in all high schools in France.

You also consider the Marseille municipality guilty of inaction.

The left-wing municipality of Benoit Payan has a heavy responsibility. She closes her eyes. There is too little CCTV. By way of comparison, there are 18 cameras per 10,000 inhabitants in Marseille compared to 72 in Nice. In Aix-en-Provence, a few kilometers away, there are twice as many cameras as in Marseille. This under-equipment endangers the Marseillais. In France, courageous personalities, such as Bruno Retailleau, Gérald Darmanin or Éric Ciotti, denounce the inaction of large left-wing cities in the face of insecurity. But Marseille is the most in danger! 68% of Marseille residents say they are unhappy with the insecurity in their city. Two out of three Marseillais are angry with their mayor on this subject. Today, this insecurity is paid for in human lives. While the Minister of the Interior is sending new CRS units, the municipality wants to open a shooting room near Saint-Charles station.

The signal sent is dramatic: the mayor is indirectly on the side of drug traffickers. Since the departure of Jean-Claude Gaudin (LR), with a much more positive record than his successor, the situation has worsened and risks reaching a point of no return. The remarkable mobilization of Martine Vassal with the department and the metropolis, of Renaud Muselier with the region, will be crucial in the coming months to prevent the worst. The municipal elections of 2026 will undoubtedly be the last chance election for Marseille.

This article is originally published on


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