Notorious drug dealer returns to jail after 1998 prison break

Notorious drug dealer returns to jail after 1998 prison break

Twenty one years after his escape from a Greek prison where he was serving a sentence for drug trafficking, notorious dealer Ognyan Atanasov was sent on Friday back to pre-trial detention in Thessaloniki to face new charges for crimes revealed after his prison break in the late 1990s.

The 56-year-old Bulgarian national was convicted to 18 years in prison for trafficking 2.5 kilos of heroin in 1995 and was ordered to serve his sentence in the Cassandra farm prison on the peninsula of Halkidiki. However, he managed to escape in 1998 and fled to Bulgaria.

The suspect, known to police by the monikers “Bulgarian Escobar,” and “the phantom of the Struma valley,” was led before an appeals prosecutor in Thessaloniki on Friday afternoon, to execute five of the seven Greek arrest warrants pending against him.

Atanasov will remain in jail until he is tried in court over fresh drug trafficking charges. It was not clear whether he will also serve the remaining time from the first sentence.

In 2010, Bulgarian authorities arrested Atanasov and sent him to prison. He was later extradited to Greece. 

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