Greek police seized nearly 1.2 tons of cocaine and arrested eight foreign nationals suspected of belonging to a criminal network that transported drugs from the Caribbean to Europe, Greek police said in a statement on Saturday.
In a press release, the police said that they discovered 1.18 tons of cocaine in 1,040 nylon packages divided into 52 travel bags, during the search of an apartment in the port city of Astakos, near the Ionian Islands, in the west of the country.
The drug was imported into Greece on board a sailboat from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and destined for markets in Europe and north Africa.
During raids on four more apartments in the Athens area, a small amount of cocaine, cannabis, an AK-47 assault rifle and three pistols were seized as part of the same investigation. Police also confiscated over 233,000 euros in cash as well as five vehicles. In addition to the eight arrests, the police are still looking for around ten members of the network, which is made up largely of Albanian nationals, according to the local press.
The operations were the result of a six-month long investigation in Greece that was supported by the United States Embassy in Athens and authorities in Albania and Spain, where two of the gang’s leaders are thought to be permanent residents.
Major General Petros Tzeferis, head of the Attica Security Directorate, said that some of those arrested were already known to police. Four had prior arrests; one had been arrested five times, for armed robbery, attempted murder and drug offenses. Tzeferis added that the gang’s estimated earnings from drug dealing were in excess of 50 million euros.