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Bulgarian drug boss extradited in Greece

10 August 2010 / 12:08:52  GRReporter
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The request of the Greek authorities for the extradition of the number one drug boss in the Pirin region Ognyan Atanasov was approved after six months of waiting. Judicial authorities in Greece insist Atanasov be brought before the court of the country for charges in numerous crimes, including possession and distribution of drugs and forming a criminal group in Greece. Among the other crimes is the Atanasov’s escape from prison in 1998, for which he will also have to take responsibility before the Greek authorities.

The Greek press called Atanasov the Balkan Escobar or the phantom of the Struma valley. His story began in Greece in 1995 when he was captured near Serres with two kilograms of heroin. In October 1996 the first instance sentenced him to life imprisonment in Greece. Тhe relatives of the accused disclosed that 40 million drachmas were paid to a police officer and a lawyer for a lighter sentence, which raised a serious fuss in court. The accusation of bribery was investigated and both defendants also took their seats in the dock.
After the scandal with the corrupt Greek law officials, the second instance convicted Atanasov to 18 years imprisonment due to the Bulgarian drug boss decision to cooperate with the local authorities. The Greek edition Ta Nea noted that after the arrest of Atanasov the fight of the police against drug traffickers became very successful, mainly in the region of northern Greece, Promachon - Thessaloniki - Serres.

The court ordered Ognyan Atanasov to serve the sentence in the Cassandra farm prison on the peninsula of Halkidiki. This was a quite controversial news for Greece, because according to the wider legal circles, the farm prison did not meet the stringency required for the execution of sentences such as Atanasov’s. Whatever the responses, however, Ognyan Atanasov did not stay long in the Cassandra prison. He escaped in November 1998 with the aid of a group of accomplices who helped him to get to Bulgaria and hide.

Ognyan Atanassov was arrested again in March 2010 (this time in Bulgaria) together with his five accomplices in the criminal group. Then 290 000 euros, 24 500 leva, 6700 dollars, gas pistol modified for bullet shooting and 250 cartridges for it as well as 900 g of cocaine, 726 g heroin and  970 g amphetamines were seized. The police seized 300 g of amphetamine, 55 000 euros, 4500 dollars and 12 cell phones from Atanasov’s house in the Petrich village of Topolnitsa. The policemen found gold and luxury watches in the house and 24 mobile phones and 100 SIM cards in his villa in the area Popina laka near Sandanski.

Tags: Ognyan AtanasovExtradition to GreeceCrime news
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