The interruption of a police operation that led to the detention of a Czech lorry driver in Turkey in December 2010 was necessary in order to save the life of a man held by an international gang from Slovenia, Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak said at a press conference on Wednesday, April 27, the TASR newswire reported.
The person who was responsible for securing the delivery of acetic anhydride, a heroin precursor, was in danger of being killed by the people who had ordered his services.
"They held the man hostage. If the operation had been thwarted, disclosed, unsuccessful, they'd have killed him," said Spišiak, as quoted by TASR.
The smuggling operation was planned by an international criminal organisation based in Slovenia. The gang possessed 30 tonnes of chemicals in Hungary that could be used to make heroin. Subsequently – most likely at random, in order to retain anonymity – it selected a private Czech haulier that was tasked with delivering the materials to a certain destination.
"The goal of monitoring the delivery was to reveal the end destination, as the police had contradictory information on this," said Ladislav Harman, Slovakia's member of Eurojust. The police wanted to discover whether the delivery was supposed to end up in Turkey, Afghanistan or another country.
As much as seven tonnes of heroin worth €175 million on the black market could have been produced from the 17 tonnes of anhydride seized by the police. Spišiak said the drug would then have been distributed in Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and that profits were then destined for purchasing arms, which the organisation planned to sell to terrorist groups such as ETA and a paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland.
The plans were thwarted because the Slovak police intervened against the organisation, which was about to kill the man who arranged the logistics in the wake of problems that had occurred in Turkey.
"They wanted to kill the man if the delivery hadn't taken place by a certain date. Therefore, after our vain efforts to speed up matters in Turkey, we had to apprehend the offenders," said Spišiak. "This criminal group is organised on military principles, with a hierarchy and betrayal punished by death," said Spišiak.
The police are currently investigating eight people for their involvement in the case – five Slovenians, a Slovak, a Czech and a Hungarian. The latter three were arrested in Slovenia only two weeks ago, said Harman. According to Spišiak, the Slovak police still have not received satisfactory information from Turkey as to why delivery was held up on its territory despite a prior agreement.
"Moves that had been previously agreed aren't always actually carried out in Turkey. I don't want to speculate on the reasons," said Jakub Frydrych from the National Anti-Drug Centre of the Czech police.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
28. Apr 2011 at 10:00