NEWS

Yacht held 179 kilos of heroin

A professional yachtsman was arrested in Crete yesterday on suspicion of involvement in an international heroin-smuggling gang after a large quantity of the drug was found on a Lebanese-owned yacht in a small Dodecanesian island port late on Monday. The 179 kilos of heroin were stashed in a hidden locker in the bows of the Gibraltar-flagged Faraway, which sought refuge from stormy seas at the port of Kasos on Monday with a crew of two Greeks. Sources said the seamen, Antonis Vlachopoulos, 31, and Markos Spyropoulos, 33, found the drugs by accident and notified the port authorities. Yesterday, police in the Cretan town of Iraklion arrested yachtsman Ilias Kovatzis, 28, in connection with the Kasos seizure, and were reportedly seeking another eight suspects in Crete. The Merchant Marine Ministry said the 14-meter Faraway is thought to belong to Lebanese national Sezer Abi Aci and had sailed from Barcelona, heading for a Lebanese port. Greek authorities have contacted Europol on the matter.