Four members of the same Turnhout family appeared in court for drug trafficking.

Four members of the same Turnhout family appeared in court for drug trafficking. © BERT THE DEAN

Turnhout

Four members of the same family from Turnhout were on trial Friday for drug trafficking. Hamza K. (27) engaged his 34-year-old brother, 19-year-old sister and 55-year-old mother to sell drugs from their home in Turnhout. “The whole family lives on the hood of society. Hamza K. receives a living wage, his brother an unemployment benefit and his mother has an invalidity benefit. In the meantime, the family has enriched itself with the drug trade,” said public prosecutor Catherine Dederen.

Bart Van den Langenbergh

Yesterday at 23:35

According to the Public Prosecution Service, Hamza K. was firmly in control of drug trafficking, although he was already convicted for this in 2018. The twenty-something was then sentenced to forty months in prison, of which thirty months with probation measures. “After his release, he just continued his business. All this time he has kept up appearances towards the justice assistants who accompanied him,” said prosecutor Catherine Dederen on Friday at the criminal court in Turnhout. “The close relatives took an active part in the drug trade. He hid cannabis in his younger sister’s room because he didn’t want the police to find the drugs. That sister regularly prepared drugs on her brother’s instructions and also gave drugs to customers.”

Cannabis with sister

Sister SK was still a minor when she was involved in drug trafficking. Brother HK (34) and mother ST (55) were also on trial. The mother, like her son, has already been convicted of drug offences. In September 2020, during a search of the family’s home in Schorvoort, the police found a small amount of cannabis, cash and three mobile phones in the bedroom of Hamza K.. But in his sister’s room there were twenty grams of cannabis in three bags and a precision scale.

“Hamza K.’s mobile phone contained messages indicating the sale of cannabis, cocaine, hashish and ecstasy ranging from five grams to one hundred grams of cannabis,” the prosecutor said. “The customers could go right up to his house. When he was not at home, his sister or mother handed over the drugs. He also worked with sub-dealers and own runners that he sent to customers. He stated that he had started selling drugs again under coercion from an upper dealer. The whole family lives on the hood of society. Hamza K. receives a living wage, his brother an unemployment benefit and his mother has an invalidity benefit. In the meantime, the family has enriched itself with the drug trade.”

New start failed

Hamza K. risks an effective prison sentence of four years. The public prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of eighteen months for his brother and mother each and community service for the younger sister. According to K.’s counsel, the man does want to take responsibility. “The previous conviction in 2018 was a reason to make a new start, but that happened with trial and error,” argued master Bert Cleymans. “Employment did not go smoothly and he started using himself again. He eventually got back into the drug trade when he was approached by old contacts and felt threatened.”

The court will hand down a verdict on January 28.

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