Romania: Police Roust Alleged Drug Traffickers Out of Sewers

Romanian authorities have raided the sewers in the North Station area of Bucharest, as well as several nearby buildings, to crack down on what they say is a drug-trafficking gang based in the underground tunnels of the capital.

Entry into the underground tunnelsProsecutors ordered the sewers searched Tuesday to tackle a ring of 23 people they believe deals heroin, methadone and various other drugs throughout the area. They arrested a 41-year-old man they say leads the group and who has “achieved significant financial benefit” from these activities.

While the identity of this man was not officially released, local media say he is Florin Hora, who uses the street name “Bruce Lee.”

Authorities also provided a video of the seizure of various electronics, several allegedly stolen paintings, and a number of syringes from the tunnels under North Station. According to Mediafax, authorities also seized swords, money, drugs, laptops and other electronic devices, as well as two drills and two power saws.

Mediafax also reports that Hora and some members of his group appear affluent, and furnished the tunnels with leather sofas and modern TV sets. Even a small swimming pool can be seen in one of the pictures in the report.

Hora featured in an investigation by British Channel 4 News, which produced a story on the lives of the people living in the sewers of Bucharest in May last year. They say that hundreds of men, women and children live in the tunnels and suffer from drug abuse, HIV and tuberculosis.

According to the report, the sewer population consists mainly of orphans that had been under state care during Nikolae Ceausescu's rule. After the fall of Ceausescu and his regime, the newly homeless orphans drifted into the tunnels under the capital and built a community there. Channel 4 News journalist Paraic O'Brian was invited to enter the tunnels and report on the living conditions.

His report shows a network of tunnels wired with electricity, with young people sitting on bunk beds while consuming various types of drugs. Dance music can be heard playing in the background, and the youngest are snorting aerosol solvents from black plastic bags.