Hundreds arrested in 'XXL cleanup' French anti-drug operation

Hundreds arrested in 'XXL cleanup' French anti-drug operation

More than 190 people were arrested today as part of a vast anti-drug sting operation coordinated by the French police. Roughly 25 kilograms of cannabis and over one kilogram of cocaine were seized, police said.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said officers searched residences, roads and highways in the northern cities of Lille, Villeneuve-d’Ascq and Roubaix. Authorities would continue the raids "to hit very hard,” he said.

Darmanin said 15,000 police, gendarmes and customs officials were mobilised weekly for the work. Over 20 kilograms of unspecified drugs, 385,0000 euros and four weapons were seized during the first three days of the operation.

The first searches took place last week in the southern city of Marseille.

On a video posted to social media last week, President Emmanuel Macron described the efforts as "unprecedented" while adding there would be 10 more in the coming weeks.

It comes as the federal government commits to a tough on crime position ahead of the mid-year European elections. Some critics have linked the centrist government's recent efforts to boost its chances at the polling booths andstave off the threat of the far-right.