NEWS

Cross-border drug deals

In the past two years, many drug users from border towns and villages have been going to Bulgaria to get their drugs. Heroin and cannabis are cheaper and more readily available near the border. As a general rule, it costs more to carry narcotics across the border and that increases the price. Officials statistics of arrests and narcotics confiscations show that drug dealers have been less active recently at Evros, compared with western Macedonia and Epirus on the Albania border, where activity has increased greatly. There is a simple explanation, say customs and police officials experienced in chasing drug dealers. The strict measures taken in Thrace have forced gangs to shift to Albania and Kosovo, which is the largest narcotics dispatch center in the area. These gangs invent ingenious tricks to get drugs into Greece, always in collaboration with Greek criminals. One method commonly employed by smugglers is to procure and store large quantities of cannabis or heroin on Greek territory, near the border; then their Greek accomplices collect the drugs from an agreed location. Police have found whole sackloads of cannabis in mountain passes in western Macedonia and Epirus. In Thrace alone over the past five years, more than 10 people have lost their lives as a result of drug use, police inspector Nikos Dermenoudis told a meeting at Thrace University. In addition, there were 500 arrests connected with 300 cases, and 82.5 kilos of heroin along with 300 kilos of cannabis were confiscated. Cannabis is the most common illegal substance in the area, and the glut on the market has lowered prices from 600-800,000 drachmas (1760-2348 euros) per kilo to 100-120,000 drachmas (294-352 euros). Pathiakakis dies at first practice