NEWS

Ton of ephedrine seized

In the biggest haul of its kind in Greece, authorities yesterday seized more than a ton of ephedrine, the chemical used in the production of the synthetic drugs speed and ice, during a raid on a warehouse in Piraeus. Attica police drug squad officers and officials from the financial crime squad (SDOE) found 1,088 kilos of the substance hidden in sacks of rice in two containers that had been stored in a warehouse in Neo Ikonio, near Piraeus, after arriving from Pakistan. The drugs were concealed in 27 of the 760 sacks packed into the containers. It is thought to be one of the biggest-ever seizures of the drug to take place in Europe. Ephedrine is used to manufacture the hallucinogenic drug methamphetamine, commonly known as ice or speed, and officials said that the amount of the chemical seized was enough to make up to 70 million pills of the drug. Authorities are linking yesterday’s haul with the seizure of 6 tons of hashish in a warehouse in nearby Keratsini on Friday. The containers with the ephedrine were addressed to the same man, with a Greek name, who had rented the warehouse where the hashish was found, drug squad officers said. Police discovered that the name given was fake and are now basing their investigation on the likely scenario that an international crime ring is behind the drug shipments. A 44-year-old British national of Pakistani origin was taken into custody during Friday’s raid but no arrests were made yesterday. A senior police officer told Kathimerini that the drugs were probably on their way to the Netherlands. He added that authorities believe the shipment had also contained a substantial quantity of heroin, which was removed from the containers before they arrived in Greece. Police say they knew of the ephedrine when they were tipped off about the hashish shipment but purposely held back from seizing it in the hope of catching more people.