Slovak police blame Turkish authorities

The international police operation, during which a Czech lorry driver unwittingly carrying a substance used in the production of heroin was detained in Turkey, was handled brilliantly by the Slovak police but was botched by Turkish authorities, Slovak Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak told a press conference.

The international police operation, during which a Czech lorry driver unwittingly carrying a substance used in the production of heroin was detained in Turkey, was handled brilliantly by the Slovak police but was botched by Turkish authorities, Slovak Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak told a press conference.

Within the international police operation – aimed at arresting a gang of drug traffickers – a truck headed from Dunajská Streda (Trnava Region) to Istanbul was loaded with contraband used in heroin production. The material was supposed to reel in a gang of drug traffickers. However, the recipient company said that it hadn't ordered any items and the police action fell flat, TASR newswire reported. The truck's unsuspecting driver was detained and spent four days in a Turkish jail.

"Given that Turkey failed to stick to agreements, the operation designed to track down the purchaser and identify the laboratory didn't succeed," said Spišiak as quoted by TASR. "Contrary to agreement, the lorry driver was arrested."

Nevertheless, Slovak police have managed to apprehend two people in Slovakia who are members of the gang, he noted.

According to Spišiak, Slovakia has asked a total of seven countries for help in the operation. Turkish police were supposed to complete the process of tracking down the purchaser of the contraband that was set to be used in the production of heroin bound for western Europe – and Slovakia.

Meanwhile, former interior minister Robert Kaliňák of Smer said that the truck involved in the failed police operation wasn't appropriate for transporting such items.

"How come police authorities allowed such dangerous substance to be loaded on to an ordinary truck and let the driver carry it without training and protection, thereby jeopardising the life and health of people along the truck's route," said Kaliňák as quoted by TASR.

According to Kaliňák, the lorry was not designed to transport the substances. Kaliňák said that he has received information that Slovak authorities lost contact with the liaison officer in Turkey a day after the truck left Slovakia.

"How come they didn't halt the transport after finding out that they were not enjoying sufficient contact with Turkey?" he asked.

At the same time, he called on Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic not only to apologise for the action but also to take remedial action vis-a-vis the problems the lorry driver experienced.

"After such a botched operation the Slovak authorities should redeem the reputation of the company and the driver, who spent Christmas in jail due to an insufficently prepared police operation," he told TASR.

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