Hash smuggling gang nabbed after boat chase


Hellenic Coast Guard authorities have linked the 11 drug traffickers who were arrested on Saturday after a dramatic boat chase across the Ionian and Aegean seas to a network that smuggled large quantities of drugs from Albania to Italy and Greece.

The coast guard on Monday released a video of the boat chase, which also included a helicopter with snipers.

The chase ended in an area between the Aegean islands of Tzia and Makronissos and resulted in the seizure of 1.6 tons of hashish.

Two officers were injured when they dove off their boat under fire from the smugglers. The three smugglers on the speedboat – two Albanian nationals and an Italian – were arrested.

Another eight people – an Italian, four Albanians, two Greeks and a Bulgarian – were tracked down over the weekend and arrested.

Authorities said the suspects are connected to drug smuggling networks that prosecutors in Albania had linked last month to a former minister of the Albanian government.

Moreover, a source told Kathimerini that the same network was also behind two attempts – in April and September – to smuggle large quantities of hashish from Albania to Italy.

Among the arrested suspects was a 63-year-old Greek businessman who owns a restaurant on the popular resort island of Myconos and allegedly supplied three speedboats to the network to transport the drugs.