Co­caine racket coated leaflets

Po­lice ar­rest 23 mem­bers of ring us­ing new method to smug­gle drugs

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Of­fi­cers of the At­tica po­lice’s anti­nar­cotics squad have ar­rested 23 sus­pected mem­bers of a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional racket be­lieved to have smug­gled co­caine into Greece from Latin Amer­ica us­ing an un­usual method: coat­ing dozens of leaflets with the drug in liqui­fied form.

The sus­pects in­clude Greek, Al­ba­nian, Venezue­lan, Colom­bian, Bul­gar­ian and Rus­sian na­tion­als, in­clud­ing a 44-year-old Al­ba­nian con­vict who is be­lieved to be the ring­leader and a 62-year-old Colom­bian who would travel to Greece to re­cover the drugs from the leaflets, ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources.

Po­lice are seek­ing another seven sus­pected mem­bers of the ring be­lieved to have fled to other Euro­pean or Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries to elude ar­rest.

The crack­down fol­lowed sev­eral months of un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Greek Po­lice (ELAS), which said of­fi­cers con­fis­cated 53 leaflets cov­ered in co­caine, 35,000 eu­ros in cash and an un­spec­i­fied quan­tity of cannabis.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources, the leaflets had been coated with around 15 kilo­grams of high-grade co­caine.

The po­lice probe sug­gests that the racket started smug­gling co- caine into Greece last Novem­ber, with mem­bers be­lieved to have used a cod­i­fied form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to avoid de­tec­tion by the au­thor­i­ties.

“It is the first time in the an­nals of Euro­pean crime that we have seen such a method­ol­ogy of trans­port­ing and trad­ing in co­caine in a non-de­tectable form,” the chief of the Athens Se­cu­rity Po­lice, Chris­tos Pa­pazafeiris, said.

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