21 November, 2005
An organized drug trafficking ring active in Greece and the Balkans has been broken up by a coordinated operation by the Attica Police drug squad and the Greek national information service (EYP), the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) office at the US embassy in Athens, and the FYROM police, under the supervision of the Athens and Thessaloniki prosecutors' offices, with the arrest of five ring members on Friday night, it was announced on Sunday.
The ring smuggled large shipments of cocaine from Bulgaria to FYROM, and from there to Greece and other Balkan countries.
Acting on inteligence and following an investigation, a plainclothes police officer approached the ring, posing as a prospective buyer for 10.5 kilos of cocaine at a price of 400,000 euros. The street value of the haul is estimated at 1.2 million euros.
Five men -- two Greek nationals and three FYROM nationals -- were arrested on Friday.
The detainees had smuggled the cocaine from Bulgaria to FYROM, where four of the members (including one of the Greek nationals) were arrested on Friday, while the fifth man, who was due to take possession of the money from the sale of the narcotics, was arrested in Thessaloniki.
The three FYROM nationals were arrested during a search of the FYROM-registered car they were driving in, at the Novo Selo border crossing on the FYROM-Bulgarian border, after the cocaine was found hidden in the car. A Greek national, identified only as P.L., 46 years old, was arrested later in Skopje, while Greek police arrested the second Greek, identified as M.B., 45 years old, in Thessaloniki.
The Greek authorities, in collaboration with the FYROM police drug squad, were seeking other members of the racket in Greece, FYROM and Bulgaria.
The case file has been submitted to the Thessaloniki prosecutors' office.
Source: Athens News Agency