Turkey arrests 67 in huge narcotics swoop

At least 67 suspects were detained and millions of Turkish lira was seized in a large anti-narcotics operation in the country, Turkish interior minister said last night.

“It was the largest operation in the history of the republic. The largest operation on drug and crime revenues was done,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.

Some 70 million Turkish liras (over 10.21 million dollars) was seized and 500-million-lira traffic was prevented with the “Operation Swamp” against a drug trafficking network operating internationally for many years, including in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil, Soylu stated.

The operation was carried out across 11 provinces in Turkey and has begun almost two months ago, he said.

Meanwhile, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported that the criminal network has been linked to over 31 tons of cannabis, 2.5 tons of base morphine and 140 kilograms of heroin and over 18 tons of cocaine.

One of the leaders of the network, who was arrested in Istanbul, was jailed earlier for drug trafficking but escaped from a prison in Brazil, the agency quoted an anonymous Turkish security official as saying.

The suspect later fled to Turkey and is now under judicial control over drug trafficking and money laundering offenses, according to the official.