Turkish police have seized 228 kilograms of cocaine at a port in Istanbul, NTV has reported. Nine suspects were detained in the raid in Ambarli Port.
According to the Provincial Police Department on Tuesday, officers received a tip-off that a large amount of cocaine would be sent to the port in a ship from a South American country. With international cooperation, Istanbul’s anti-narcotic team and customs officials launched a comprehensive search of six containers on board the ship.
“Following a detailed examination of the containers,” said the police, “the units found 228kg of cocaine hidden inside 119 tonnes of fertiliser.”
In June, Turkey conducted its largest ever narcotics operation and detained 67 people in “Operation Swamp” that targeted a gang with international connections in Brazil and the Netherlands. According to a report in the Daily Sabah, the suspects were behind the shipments of drugs seized by the Turkish authorities on various occasions, from tons of heroin seized in 1993 to more than 18 tons of cocaine seized in 2012, as well as 20 tons of heroin and ecstasy pills found on board a vessel in 2016.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that Turkey seized 62 per cent of the heroin and morphine found in the region outside Asia. Turkey accounts for the bulk of the heroin and morphine seized in eastern and south-eastern Europe, at 95 per cent.