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Greek authorities seize 2 shipments of more than 300 kilograms of cocaine as drug ring dismantled

Anadolu Agency EUROPE
Published May 23,2024
(File Photo)

Greek authorities seized two shipments of more than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of cocaine Thursday as police dismantled a drug ring.

An international drug trafficking gang was dismantled after four members were arrested, said authorities.

Hundreds of kilograms of cocaine were found sealed in containers at the port of Piraeus, said police. The drugs were believed to have originated from Latin America and were headed to European countries, including Greece, for illegal profits.

The drugs weighed more than 210 kilos (463 pounds) and were sealed in nylon packages hidden in frozen shrimp containers, according to the Kathimerini newspaper.

A large-scale operation was conducted for months with collaboration from the Drug Enforcement Agency's Office at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, the Hellenic Police special counterterrorism unit and the narcotics squad of the 3rd Piraeus Customs Office, with assistance from other Greek authorities.

Police said the ring received illegal profits exceeding €5 million ($5.4 million).

The four arrested included a male, 48 -- believed to be the leader and responsible for the management of the operation. He is accused of drug transfer and financing. The suspect had a pending 20-year sentence, including a fine since 2017, when he was found guilty of illegally producing a synthetic drug called Captagon.

A 64-year-old suspect served a prison sentence in the U.S. for involvement in the transfer of weapons from Europe, while another male, 36, was responsible for the recruitment of other members.

The fourth person arrested was a 54-year-old male in charge of the personal protection of the leader.

The suspects are believed to be from Albania and Greece.

Another cocaine shipment was seized weighing more than 100 kilograms later Thursday. So far there are no reports about if the two shipments were connected.

Greek authorities have managed to dismantle several drug trafficking rings in recent months with hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs confiscated.

Last June, €3.2 million in cocaine stuffed in banana containers was seized in northern Greece, and in September, more than 585 kilograms of cocaine was seized in the northern port city of Thessaloniki; one of the largest seizures in Greek history.

A month later, another 60 kilos of cocaine was seized after a month-long operation.