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Police find half a ton of cocaine in a banana cargo

26 July 2013 / 14:07:42  GRReporter
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The Greek police have found in cardboard boxes of bananas a large quantity of cocaine, exceeding half a ton. The Greek authorities believe that this successful action can help detect and break up an international network which imports and distributes drugs in Europe and Asia.
The 513 kg of cocaine were found in banana warehouses in the suburb of Aghios Ioannis Rentis in Athens and on the island of Rhodes by members of the anti-drug service. The experts believe that the drug was not intended for the Greek market but they do not exclude the possibility of the case involving Greek citizens.

During the inspection of the warehouse in Aghios Ioannis Rentis about 250 kg of cocaine were found and the other 250 kg were detected in Rhodes.

The police have announced that they have not established any connection of the companies owning the warehouses in Athens and Rhodes with the shipment and therefore they are trying to find its owner.

The banana cargo and the cocaine hidden in the boxes had departed from Colombia and Costa Rica. The ship passed through Lisbon and berthed at an Italian port at the expense of a company based in Milan. It is supposed that the drugs were added at one of the intermediate ports.

The shipment had arrived at the port of Patras on 15 July after which the cardboard boxes of bananas were loaded on trucks operated by different transport companies. Three days later, they began to deliver the fruits to merchants who found the packets of cocaine.

The specific shipment is neither the first nor the only one in which the participants in the drugs distribution network have let their fancy roam. The smugglers use trucks, refrigerators, and even chargers for mobile phones, to transport the profitable poisons.

"In the strangest case so far we have detected cocaine hidden in cables for computers," says G. Papadopoulous, head of the service to combat drugs and weapons within the anti-financial crime unit. Detection of drugs is not an easy task bearing in mind the fact that there are no detectors for containers at the airport in Athens nor at the port of Piraeus, which is the largest in the eastern Mediterranean region. There is only one detector at the airport but it, however, is designed for small-sized consignments.

Therefore, the burden falls on sniffer dogs and officials who undergo tests to detect drugs on the spot. The role of the network of informers created by the competent authorities is also important.

In the past, the service had found 560 g of cocaine in a backpack with the flag of Brazil. The drug was in a specially designed pocket whereas the backpack was full of souvenirs and key chains to conceal it.

Refrigerators were a popular "tool" for drug trafficking for some time as well. The staff had found in such "coverts" 68 kg cannabis, and 56 kg and 155 g in another case. Subsequently it became clear that the senders were members of a global network distributing drugs in Europe.

As shown by experience, the more expensive the drug, the smaller the shipments. The authorities give as an example the case of a shipment from India, in which the smugglers had tried to transport 75 packets of heroin hidden in the lining of women's clothing. In their ingenuity, they had even replaced the pieces of elastic in the stitches with the packages containing the insidious drug.

Tags: Crime newsCocaineCardboard boxes of bananasAnti-drug serviceInternational network for drug distribution
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