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447 kilograms of cocaine confiscated

14 August 2009 / 11:08:58  GRReporter
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Greek Ministry of Finances announced the confiscation of about half a ton of cocaine and the arrest of five assumed members of an international cartel. Up to now, five Greeks have been arrested, as well as Bulgarian traffickers including two women. It is believed that the cartel is headed by a Greek 53-year old Greek businessman in Belgium, prosecuted by the Belgian authorities for homicide, money laundering and weapon trafficking. A Greek customs employee from Pirea has also been accused. They have been captured in Athens and Thessaloniki early morning on Wednesday, after a long joint-operation of several countries fighting a Colombian drug channel for Europe, known as "Belladonna 1." Greek reconnaissance participated in the operation in which special tapping equipment has been used.

For now, the investigation has focused on the two women, 50 and 44. One of them is wife of the Bulgarian arrested, and the other has travelled to Bulgaria frequently. The cocaine is €10mil of value; it weighs 447 kilograms and is of Colombian origin. It has been smuggled on a cargo ship to the port of Pirea. Following a signal from the American Drug Enforcement Administration, the cocaine was discovered in an aluminum scrap container in Aspropyrgos. Presumably, the drugs' end destination was Bulgaria. After reaching Thessaloniki, the shipment had to be transferred to a Bulgarian own.

Specialists say that this is one of the most serious attempts for drugs trafficking and the biggest amount of drugs confiscated in Greece by now. Giannis Papathanasiou, the minister of Finances, described the operation as a "huge" success in fighting drugs trafficking.

Dilyana Ivanova

Tags: Belladonna Colombian drug channel Greece
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