Turkish authorities seize third largest cocaine haul

Fri, 12 Apr 2024 6:28 GMT
Turkish police have seized the third largest haul of cocaine in the country’s history, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced on April 11 amid tightening crackdowns on organized crime rings.
Turkish authorities seize third largest cocaine haul

Some 608 kilograms of cocaine, most of it in liquid form, were confiscated in an operation across three provinces, Yerlikaya posted on the social media platform X.

Nearly 830 kilograms of precursor chemicals used to process the drug were also seized, the minister said.

Yerlikaya said the police operation targeted an international gang allegedly led by a Lebanese-Venezuelan national, who was among four foreign members of the organized crime group detained, along with nine Turkish citizens.

“The amount of cocaine seized in the operation was the third largest amount of cocaine seized at one time in Türkiye," the minister added.

The operation was led by anti-narcotics officers based in Kocaeli, which lies southeast of Istanbul, but also included investigations in Tekirdağ to Istanbul’s northwest and in the southern province of Antalya.

The gang used vineyards in Tekirdağ and Antalya to store chemicals and process the cocaine, which had been disguised in fertilizer, according to Yerlikaya. A shotgun was also recovered by police, he added.

“We will not tolerate poison traffickers, organized crime groups and gangs, whether national or international,” the minister said.

In a report dated October last year, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime unveiled a 44 percent rise in cocaine seizures in Türkiye between 2021 and 2022.

Officials made Türkiye’s largest seizure — 1.1 tons of cocaine hidden in a consignment of bananas from Ecuador — at the Mediterranean port of Mersin in 2021.


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