Moonshine gang on the rocks

Financial crimes squad and customs officials believe they have broken a criminal gang that smuggled vast quantities of pure alcohol from Bulgaria into Greece for use in adulterating spirits on sale at bars and nightclubs following four arrests this week, authorities said yesterday. Late on Wednesday, customs officers on the Athens-to-Thessaloniki highway, near Larissa in central Greece, stopped a truck with Bulgarian license plates whose driver claimed to be carrying raw materials for a detergents plant. A search of the vehicle revealed 94 plastic barrels containing some 16 tons of pure alcohol, while the recipient proved to be fictitious. The driver and his passenger, both Bulgarian nationals, were arrested – as were a Bulgarian couple in a car that had been following the truck and are believed to have been gang members escorting the delivery. Authorities believe the gang smuggled some 250 tons of alcohol into the country over the past 16 months, and are seeking three Greek nationals suspected of complicity.

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