NEWS

Police arrest 23 suspected members of cocaine smuggling ring

TAGS: Crime

Officers of the Attica police’s anti-narcotics 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 cocaine 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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