Greece a hub for drug and human trafficking, police report shows

Greece a hub for drug and human trafficking, police report shows

Criminal gangs operating in Greece make more than an estimated 100 million euros annually from crime, with drug and migrant trafficking being the two major illegal activities recorded in the country, the Greek police said in its 2017 report on serious and organized crime.

The findings of the report, which are published exclusively in "K", make extensive reference to the involvement of foreign mafias in property-related crimes, such as thefts, burglaries and armed robberies, while police highlight the ability of incarcerated criminals to manage their illegal activities from prison.

"We verified the participation in criminal activities of people who are incarcerated," the report noted.

The trafficking of migrants continued to be the biggest illegal activity in the country last year and the number of traffickers arrested by police increased compared to 2016. The report identified the traffickers as mainly  Syrian, Greek, Pakistani, Albanian, Bulgarian and Turkish nationals.

Concerning drug trafficking, Greece is described as a transit country for heroin produced in Asia and sold in Europe through the "Southern Balkan Axis."

Last year, police recorded a significant increase in the seizures of raw cannabis from Albania, which is the number one producer of hash in Europe. In fact, several of the quantities of cannabis trafficked through Greece ended up in Turkey and were exchanged for heroin shipments.

"It was confirmed again in 2017 that cannabis from Albania is used to purchase heroin from Turkey," the report says. "Libya, after the onset of the political crisis it faces, has become a hub for trafficking hash into the EU through the Mediterranean."

Concerning property-related crime in 2017, police said Greek, Georgian and Albanian criminal gangs continue to play a dominant role, with a strong participation of Roma.

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