Mayor praises 'blow' to drug traffickers after major police operation
Ada Colau and home affairs minister recognize police work as more than 50 people are arrested in narcoflats
A major police operation against drug trafficking in Barcelona has dealt a "major blow" to narcotics' networks in the Catalan capital, said the city mayor, Ada Colau, and the home affairs minister, Miquel Buch, on Monday.
In a joint press statement, Colau and Buch praised the "serious" and "constant" work of the police in areas in central Barcelona most affected by drug dealing, such as the Raval neighborhood. Recently, the city council and the Catalan government agreed on deploying more uniformed officers in the area, in an effort to strengthen security.
The police operation on Monday ended with 55 arrested after raids of 40 buildings, including 26 so-called 'narcoflats' –illegally occupied flats where people sold and consumed drugs. Thirteen of these flats have already been emptied of drug users and dealers, and their owners were able to access them again – there are five other flats for which the council is still looking for their landlords.
Colau congratulated the police and regretted that neighbors had to deal with "difficult moments" and an "unacceptable situation" for months. She said police work cannot be "improvised" and insisted the police operation had been carried out after an extensive investigation that will soon offer "more results."
Colau's comments came as one of her rivals in the upcoming local election, former French prime minister Manuel Valls, accused her of being the "representative of narcoflats."
The Barcelona mayor accused Valls of "playing politics with security" and urged him to stop it. According to Colau, the former French prime minister is attacking her for "partisan reasons" in a "pre-electoral period" and need to check "his facts."