Two men, aged 20 and 34, were shot dead on the night of Monday to Tuesday in Avignon, “obviously in the context of a gang war linked to drug trafficking”.
At midnight, the police were called for gunfire in the Monclar district in Avignon and discovered a 20-year-old man on the ground with gunshot wounds. Taken to hospital, the victim died of his injuries, a police source said. Shortly after, she also discovered in an adjacent street the body of a 34-year-old man known to the courts for drug trafficking, according to the same source.
“The two deaths seem linked since they took place in the same district, but we do not know the reason for the shooting, which looks like a settling of accounts linked to the trafficking of narcotics,” said prosecutor Philippe Guémas. The investigation was handed over to the federal police.
Vaucluse, a drug hub
These homicides occurred less than a month after the murder, the 5th friend, of a police officer killed while intervening near a drug trafficking point in the center of Avignon. His death aroused great emotion and fueled the anger of the police unions.
The suspected 19-year-old shooter and another 20-year-old who was accompanying him were arrested four days later about 20 kilometers from Avignon at a tollgate as they tried to flee to Spain.
Vaucluse, one of the ten poorest departments in France, has seen an increase in drug trafficking in recent years, according to police and judicial officials recently interviewed by AFP.
At the beginning of the year, Eric Arella, head of the direction of the southern zone of the judicial police, had thus confirmed that the remit of the PJ of Montpellier, which covers the area from Perpignan to Nîmes, had experienced very strong growth of its criminal referrals in recent years, in particular for assassinations and settling of scores. The cities of Nîmes, Montpellier, Perpignan and Avignon were particularly affected by this inflation.
“In the department, since January 1, it is 83 arrests for drug trafficking, it is more than 60 operations against the points of deal”, indicated the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin traveling to Avignon after the murder of Brigadier Eric Masson.