A police investigation has shed light into a clash between drug and arms dealers and anarchists in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia, Kathimerini has learned.
Meanwhile 29 Greek and Albanian nationals are to face charges in the wake of a major police crackdown in the area.
During the operation carried out between December and March 9 police tapped phone conversations and infiltrated the ranks of the suspects as they sought to control the drug trade in Exarchia Square and nearby pedestrian Mesolongiou Street.
The suspects allegedly sold cannabis to users in 2- and 4-gram bags at 10 and 20 euros respectively. They also sold 1-gram cocaine wraps for 55 euros. Police say the drugs were mixed with adulterants before being sold on the street.
Police say the racket employed Algerian migrants as dealers and often resorted to threats and violence to intimidate the competition. In a tapped conversation dated January 19, one of the suspects urges a 25-year-old accomplice, nicknamed “Levendis,” to join him in an attack on Egyptian street vendors. “The Egyptians are here, let’s go slap them about a bit,” he says. “I’ll have something to eat and I’ll join you,” says the other.
Investigators found that the suspects were also selling weapons. Speaking to one of his accomplices in December, one of the suspects brags about a newly purchased air gun. “Oh brother, you know what I just bought? It will blow your mind. It can take out the best of them at a distance of 3 meters.”
The drug traffickers were repeatedly targeted by anarchists, who have a strong presence in Exarchia.
In early February, a group of anarchists vandalized a restaurant on Andreas Metaxas Street believed to be a gang hangout. Two weeks later, anarchists raided an apartment used as a drug den by the racket.
“The regular assaults and the daily drug trafficking made the members of the organization undesirables in the area, resulting in initially sporadic and subsequently more frequent attacks by hooded [individuals] against members of the criminal organization,” a police report said.