Turkey seizes third largest haul of cocaine, says inside minister

Turkey seizes third largest haul of cocaine, says inside minister

Turkish police have seized the third largest haul of cocaine within the nation’s historical past, the inside minister, Ali Yerlikaya, has introduced, as teams monitoring organised crime warned that Turkey was turning into an entry level for medication reaching Europe.

Roughly 608kg of cocaine, most of it in liquid type, have been confiscated in an operation throughout three provinces, Yerlikaya posted on X on Thursday. Almost 830kg of precursor chemical substances used to course of the drug have been additionally seized.

Yerlikaya mentioned the police operation focused a global gang allegedly led by a Lebanese-Venezuelan nationwide, who was amongst 4 overseas members of the detained organised crime group, together with 9 Turks.

“The quantity of cocaine seized within the … operation was the third largest quantity of cocaine seized at one time in Turkey,” mentioned the minister.

Teams monitoring organised crime say Turkey is rising as a transit hub for cocaine coming from South America to Europe as safety at ports equivalent to Rotterdam within the Netherlands turns into tighter.

In a report dated October final yr, the World Initiative In opposition to Transnational Organised Crime mentioned a 44% rise in cocaine seizures in Turkey between 2021 and 2022 was not mirrored in information on home consumption, “suggesting that the nation is prone to function a drug hall”.

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The most important seizure of cocaine in Turkey – 1.1 tonnes hidden in a consignment of bananas from Ecuador – was made on the Mediterranean port of Mersin in 2021.

Yerlikaya, since coming to workplace in June final yr, has been eager to be seen to be clamping down on organised crime in Turkey to counter claims the nation has turn out to be a haven for overseas gangsters. He recurrently posts particulars of the most recent police operation to focus on drug traffickers, fraudsters and different criminals.

Thursday’s social media submit included a video, overlaid with dramatic music, displaying obvious surveillance footage, massive plastic containers and a urgent machine.

The operation was led by anti-narcotics officers primarily based in Kocaeli, which lies south-east of Istanbul, but in addition included investigations in Tekirdağ to Istanbul’s north-west and within the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

The gang used vineyards in Tekirdağ and Antalya to retailer chemical substances and course of the cocaine, which had been disguised in fertiliser, in response to Yerlikaya. A shotgun was additionally recovered by police, he added.

“We won’t tolerate poison traffickers, organised crime teams and gangs, whether or not nationwide or worldwide,” the minister wrote.

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