NEWS

Two Belgians jailed for Ecstasy smuggling

A Belgian national was sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment by a Thessaloniki court for importing the largest amount of Ecstasy pills ever confiscated in Greece. Johan Cogge, 36, was found guilty of smuggling 52,300 pills of the drug into the country, concealed under a truckload of tulips from the Netherlands that entered Greece through the port of Patras. The drugs had been made in the Netherlands. The Belgian truck driver, Pierre Hubert van der Heeren, 25, received a 12-year sentence. Cogge, who flew to Thessaloniki to negotiate the sale of the shipment to Greek drug dealers for 250,000 German marks plus half a million drachmas, was arrested in September 2000 by undercover police officers. Van der Heeren was arrested shortly afterwards after parking the truck in central Thessaloniki.