Nearly 3 tonnes of heroin destined for Europe has been intercepted in operations in Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands, the Turkish Interior Ministry reported on Wednesday.
According to the Turkish security services, a total of 2,384 kilos of heroin were seized: 1,105 kilos in Kazakhstan, 703 kilos in Germany, 350 kilos in Poland, 171 kilos in the Netherlands and 55 kilos in Turkey. The drugs were mainly destined for the European market, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency quoted the interior ministry as saying.
The investigation began in the Netherlands after police there had made a number of large heroin seizures including a 300-kilo shipment of the drug in Genoa, Italy, that was bound for the Netherlands. Another seizure of 170 kilos in 2019 led to the arrest of 6 people and the gathering of further information about the trafficking organisation behind the shipment.
“In order to provide a clear insight into this drug line, we worked extensively with Turkey, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Lithuania, Belarus and Kazakhstan,” Dutch police said in a statement, adding that Europol also played an important role in the investigations.
Among the shipments intervened were 1100 kilos of heroin in a truck transporting natural stone from Kazakhstan and in shipments of Halva, a Turkish sweet dish.
Due to its location straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey remains an important transit route for smugglers, such as those transporting heroin from Afghanistan to Europe.
In 2019, Turkish and Greek anti-narcotics forces seized millions of opiate drugs in Greece and on the borders of Bulgaria and Serbia, in cooperation with the security forces of those countries.
In 2015, Turkish security forces helped Italy seize 13 tons of drugs in a vessel sailing along its coast.