Greek coke suspect extradited

A 40-year-old Greek man, alleged to be the head of a major cocaine smuggling gang, arrived in Athens yesterday after being extradited from Germany, where he was arrested in August. Alexandros Angelopoulos was picked up by German police on August 30 at a hotel near Stuttgart airport, ready to fly to Venezuela on a fake passport. He was arrested in connection with a drugs bust in July aboard a Belize-flagged trawler off the coast of Spain which uncovered a haul of 5.4 tons of cocaine. Five crewmen, four Greeks and an Italian were arrested on the boat. Angelopoulos was not among them and had been on the run since then. He is to appear today before a Piraeus prosecutor and then an investigating magistrate on suspicion of heading a gang that was in business with Colombia’s cocaine cartel. Police say Angelopoulos owned a fleet of trawlers through a complex network of offshore firms and used them to transfer cocaine. His speedy extradition was largely put down to a new European law which stipulates that criminal suspects should be extradited within 40 days.