As heroin racket probe widens, 14 new suspects to face magistrate

Fourteen suspected members of an international heroin smuggling racket are to face a magistrate on Tuesday and Wednesday after a Piraeus prosecutor late on Sunday charged them with running a criminal gang and drug trafficking.

The suspects were arrested following the discovery of a ton of heroin at a warehouse in Koropi, eastern Attica. The cache was found just over a week after another half ton of heroin was found in Koropi and an additional half ton at the Filothei home of a shipowner who has been implicated in a broadening probe into the drug racket.

The 14 suspects to face charges in the coming days are the 11 crew members of the Noor One Togo-flagged tanker which is moored near the port of Elefsina and is believed to have transported the drugs to Greece. The drugs are said to have been collected in the international waters between Oman and Pakistan, the Associated Press quoted a Coast Guard official as saying on Sunday.

The other three suspects are a 53-year-old woman believed to be employed by the owner of the Noor One, a male suspect who is alleged to have helped transfer the drugs to the Filothei townhouse and an Iranian national who is said to have guarded the drugs at the Koropi warehouse.

Another 12 people, including the shipowner with the Filothei home and members of his family were arrested in connection with the heroin ring earlier this month.